Bangladesh GDP growth higher than forecast for fiscal 2023: ADB

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said the current gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate in Bangladesh is estimated higher than forecast for fiscal year 2023 as it kept the country’s growth forecast unchanged at 6.5 per cent for fiscal 2024.

“The current growth rate in Bangladesh is estimated higher than forecast for fiscal year 2023,” ADB said in its April report.

The economic recovery was supported by robust domestic demand and declining fuel and food prices, according to the Asian Development Outlook (ADO), July 2023 released today.

The Manila-based lending agency also attributed Bangladesh’s higher estimate of 6.0 per cent for FY2023, which ended on 30 June, to strong net exports and supportive policies.

“In Bangladesh, imports fell more sharply than expected and export growth slowed less than expected. On the supply side, manufacturing firms of all sizes leveraged supportive government policies to contribute to growth,” the report said.

According to ADB, crop losses to floods, cyclones, and droughts here were partly offset by subsidies, incentives, and other measures.

Meanwhile, the services sector in the country was buoyed by higher warehouse and support activities and health and social services.

On the demand side, growth in public consumption and investment outpaced expectations, the report added.

The ADB released the update of the Asian Development Outlook from its headquarters in Manila highlighting the economic growth in developing Asia and the Pacific, amid mounting challenges.

The ADB maintained the growth projection for the region in the current fiscal year at 4.8 per cent, as robust domestic demand continues to support the region’s recovery.

The region’s growth forecast for next year is marginally revised down to 4.7 per cent from a 4.8 per cent estimate in April.

The development bank expects that inflation in the region will fall further in the coming days, approaching pre-pandemic levels as fuel and food prices decline globally.

It lowered the inflation forecast to 3.6 per cent this year, compared with an April forecast of 4.2 per cent. The inflation outlook for 2024, meanwhile, is raised to 3.4 per cent from an earlier estimate of 3.3 per cent.

The report said the reopening of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is bolstering the region’s growth. The PRC’s economy is projected to expand 5.0 per cent this year, unchanged from the April forecast, amid strong domestic demand in the services sector.

However, demand for developing Asia’s exports of electronics and other manufactured goods is slowing, as monetary tightening drags on economic activity in major advanced economies. The region’s growth forecast for next year is marginally revised down to 4.7 per cent from a 4.8 per cent estimate in April.

ADB Chief Economist Albert Park said, “Asia and the Pacific continue to recover from the pandemic at a steady pace. Domestic demand and service activity are driving growth, while many economies are also benefiting from a strong recovery in tourism”.

The report projected growth for the South Asia region at 5.5 per cent in 2023 and 6.1 percent in 2024 given balancing developments.

“Growth projections elsewhere in South Asia are largely maintained,” the report said.

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