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APEC economies’ growth slows to 3.1 percent 

Manila, Nov 17 (IANS) Growth among 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies slowed down to 3.1 percent in the second quarter of 2015, down from 3.2 percent in the first quarter and 3.4 percent a year ago, according to an economic analysis released on Tuesday.

The report which comes ahead of a leaders meeting scheduled to be held here, said the growth slowdown reflected the prolonged weakness in global economic activity as the modest recovery in advanced economies was matched by a general slowdown in emerging market economies, Xinhua news agency reported.

An APEC leaders’ meeting will be held from Wednesday to Thursday. Regional leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and the US President Barack Obama have arrived here on Tuesday for the summit.

A ministerial meeting kicked off on Monday prior to the APEC economic leaders’ meeting.

The moderation in GDP levels could be attributed to declining investments and lacklustre exports, according to the report.

“Economies across the Asia-Pacific continue to grow but find themselves in a holding pattern of lower growth in the absence of high trade volumes,” said Alan Bollard, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat.

“Private consumption is helping to compensate but must be tapped into more aggressively to keep the regions’ economies on track,” he added.

“Market uncertainty and protectionist pressures are a concern but trade distorting measures have been generally kept at bay,” Bollard said.

He noted that economies in the region were still highly trade dependent and opportunities to grow were very much out there but there was a recognition in APEC that traditional approaches were not enough.

The report forecast the APEC region would grow by 3.1 percent in 2015, slightly below its 2014 GDP expansion of 3.4 percent.

In 2016, the APEC region is expected to post a stronger GDP growth rate of 3.4 percent, although lower than the world GDP forecast of 3.6 percent, said the report.

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