By Joanna Chiu
MANILA (DPA) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) Wednesday revised down growth forecasts for developing economies in the region, but said declining oil prices present "golden opportunities" for some Asian countries.
Growth in the regional gross domestic product would slide to 6.1 per cent in 2014 from an initially estimated 6.2 per cent, and 6.2 per cent in 2015, down from 6.4 per cent, the ADB said.
"While growth in the first three quarters of this year was somewhat softer than we had expected, declining oil prices may mean an upside surprise in 2015," ADB chief economist Shang-Jin Wei said.
"Falling global oil prices present a golden opportunity for importers like Indonesia and India to reform their costly fuel subsidy programs," he added.
China's declining real estate prices and knock-on effects on the construction sector would make its growth go down to 7.4 per cent in 2014 and 7.2 per cent in 2015, the bank said.
India was said to be on track to reach the growth forecast of 5.5 per cent for 2014. "By eliminating diesel fuel subsidies, the government has demonstrated its willingness to tackle contentious reforms," the ADB said.
ADB said it gave financial assistance of 21.0 billion dollars in 2013, including co-financing of 6.6 billion dollars.
The bank, based in Manila, was established in 1966 to help reduce poverty in Asia and the Pacific.
In November, China and 20 other Asian nations agreed to establish a Beijing-based development bank, known as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), seen as a rival to the ADB.
The AIIB was to be set up with authorized capital of 100 billion dollars.
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