Though Asian economies will suffer less acute impact from global financial problems, their recovery will be slower than their Western counterparts, says Morgan Stanley Asia CEO Stephen Roach.
"Export-led regions are followers, not leaders," Roach told The Malaysia Star.
"The only possibility (for an earlier recovery) is China, as it has large infrastructure spending in place that could provide support for economic growth."
Roach forecast 2009 Asian economic growth at less than 2.5 percent and the rest of the world at between negative 1 percent and 1.5 percent.
Though he believes the dollar will continue as the world currency for at least 20 more years, Roach also thinks the U.S. is only 20 percent into a deleveraging cycle that will run for several more years.
Roach says consumer spending in China will remain deficient unless the government extends its employment and social security safety nets, and he doubts that using monetary policy to boost the economy will work as well now as in previous years.
Citing Japan, where near zero interest rates failed to stimulate the economy, Roach points out that lowering interest rates can bolster inflation.
“My utmost concern is what the exit strategy for this aggressive easing is?” he asks. “How do you wind down without tipping to deflation?”
Japan's exports plummeted a record 23 percent in the fourth quarter, as the deepening global slowdown choked off demand for the country's cars and gadgets, underscoring the vulnerability of Asia's export-driven economies during global downturns, the Associated Press reports.
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