MANILA – This is the year of the “Black Water Dragon,” an astrological cycle that indicates change, but with a measure of calm, sensibility, and prudence. The people and governments of Asia certainly hope that this proves to be the case, but uncertainties – from within and without the region – are growing rapidly.
Developing Asia has performed relatively well over the past two years. It led the world out of the 2008-2009 “Great Recession,” recording 9% average economic growth in 2010 and solidifying that recovery by laying the basis for a more moderate – and, one hopes, sustainable –pace of economic expansion. In 2011, despite Europe’s debt struggles and an anemic recovery in the United States, developing Asia’s economies grew at a more restrained but still strong 7.5% average rate.