Commodity price volatility with the long term outlook of an upwardtrend is another major concern for the region, says the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2012: Pursingshared prosperity in an era of turbulence and high commodity prices , the flagship publication of the United Nations Economic andSocial Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), which isbased in Bangkok, Thailand. The report, released Thursday in Bangkok, projects the region'soverall gross domestic product (GDP) growth to slow down to 6.5percent in 2012 from 7.0 percent one year ago. The 2010 figure waseven higher, at 8.9 percent. Yet according to UNESCAP, the slowdown will help ease inflation inthe Asia-Pacific region, which is expected to moderate from 6.1percent in 2011 to 4.8 percent this year. As for China, the report predicts China's growth in 2012 to be 8.6percent, slightly lower than the 8.7-percent predication by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), but still higher than those by Asian Development Bank(ADB; 8.5 percent), IMF (8.2 percent) and the World Bank (8.2percent). |
Meanwhile, China's the consumer price index (CPI) reported ayear-on-year 3.4 percent increase in April, retreating slightlyfrom 3.6 percent one month earlier. The country aims to keep theyearly inflation rate at around 4.0 percent in 2012, according toreports by China's official Xinhua News Agency. Despite the easing inflation, China still faces a deeplychallenging external environment in achieving GDP growth, says theUNESCAP report. The euro zone debt crisis and high-level pricefluctuations of oil and other commodities continue to be majorobstacles for a smooth economic expansion, said Amitava Mukherjee,UNESCAP's senior expert of Macro Economic Policy DevelopmentDivision on Thursday in Beijing. Crude traded in NYMEX closed at US$95.57 per barrel on Friday, thelowest closing price so far this year.
Pessimism in the marketdemand as reflected in the sluggish macroeconomic data of China wasmostly believed to have lead to the oil price fall. On Wednesday, China cut petroleum and diesel prices by 330 yuan(US$52) and 310 yuan (US$49) per ton respectively, a move that thecountry's top planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said will help to ease the pressure on the economy growthand people's livelihood. Renmin University professor Huang Yanfen said he agreed with theUNESCAP projection that the international oil prices downward trendwas merely temporary, amid the euro zone's struggles to recover andas the result of troubles in OPEC nations like Syria, Egypt andIran. The fluctuating commodity prices challenge China's urbanization inthat new migrants into cities will need housing and otheraccommodations, and real estate prices are unlikely to fall "backto reasonable levels," Huang said.
She said she believed theproperty bubbles in China "would not burst overnight like thesituation in Japan.".
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