Asian economies — other than Japan — are expected to stage a strong rebound this year thanks to a faster-than-expected recovery in demand for information technology products resulting from the U.S. economic recovery, Nomura Research Institute said.

Nine East Asian economies are forecast to grow a combined 4.9 percent in real terms in 2002, the private economic research institute said, revising its forecast, issued at the end of last year, upward by 1.3 percentage point.

China’s economy is likely to grow 7.2 percent, unchanged from the yearend forecast, NRI said. It predicted the second steepest growth, of 4.5 percent, for South Korea, up from 2.8 percent.

Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia — forecast to contract in the previous projection — are expected to grow in the latest estimate.

Excluding China, the eight other economies, which include Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, are expected to grow 3.3 percent, up 2.3 percentage points from the yearend forecast.

NRI attributed its bullish forecast in part to a pickup in shipments of semiconductors from Asia, other than Japan, due to a recovery in demand for personal computers and other IT products in the U.S. after the completion of inventory adjustments.

Growth of 5.7 percent is expected for the nine Asian economies in 2003, NRI added.

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