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ADB downgrades East Asia growth forecasts for 2012

media captionIwan Azis of the ADB told the BBC that exporting economies would be hit first in the event that the eurozone's problems get worse, but that the whole region would be affected.

The Asian Development Bank has again downgraded next year's growth forecasts for emerging East Asia, warning of the impact of the European debt crisis.

It now expects 14 economies in the region to grow by 7.2% in 2012, instead of the 7.5% it estimated in September.

The ADB has maintained its forecast for 2011 at 7.5%.

The bank defined emerging East Asia as Asean (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries plus China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.

In a report, the ADB said the downgrade was mainly due to weaker external demand.

It warned that Europe's debt problems could turn into a full-blown global financial and economic crisis.

"The first round effect will be on countries which are relatively export-oriented," said Iwan Azis, the head of the Asian Development Bank's Office of Regional Economic Integration.

image captionADB warns of a full-blown global financial crisis and its potential impact on Asia

"The second round impact unfortunately will be on almost all emerging East Asia economies," he added.

The report urged policymakers to "respond promptly, decisively, and collectively" in order for the region to weather the crisis.

The ADB has also warned of other downside risks such as protectionism, destabilising capital flows and inflation.

However it said inflation "appears to have peaked" in most economies and it was not predicting a recession in the region.

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