Nomura Research Institute Ltd. said Friday it has revised upward its 2003 economic growth forecast for nine East Asian economies, excluding Japan, to 5.2 percent in real terms.

The projection is based on gross domestic product, the total value of goods and services produced domestically.

The private think tank had issued a growth estimate of 4.8 percent in June.

Nomura said the nine economies in question — South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and China — have generally held firm since the end of the severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic.

The think tank attributed this firmness to the spillover effects on Asian stock markets from gains in U.S. share prices, rising exports, especially those to the United States, and a quick recovery in the number of tourists and visitors to the region.

Among the countries involved, China is expected to post GDP growth of 8.1 percent, up from the previous forecast of 7.4 percent, amid solid exports and corporate capital investment.

Nomura cut its estimate for South Korean GDP growth from 3.2 percent to 2.5 percent, partly due to the negative effects of a rise in labor-dispute cases.

As for next year, GDP in the nine economies is expected to expand 6.1 percent, the think tank said.

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