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IMF cuts Asia growth forecasts over policy uncertainty, trade frictions

The International Monetary Fund lowered growth forecasts for Asia, citing global policy uncertainty and trade frictions that the fund said has dented near-term growth prospects, with risks tilted to the downside.

Growth in Asia is expected to hit 5.0% in 2019 and 5.1% in 2020, 0.4 and 0.3 percentage points lower, respectively, than April projections.

Among advanced economies, Hong Kong's growth forecast was slashed by IMF by 2.4 percentage points to 0.3% for 2019 and by 1.5 percentage points to 1.5% for 2020, amid prolonged political unrest. Australia's GDP growth figures were trimmed 0.4 percentage point and 0.5 percentage point to 1.7% and 2.3%, respectively.

IMF cut Japan's growth forecast for 2019 by 0.1 percentage point to 0.9%, while maintaining the 2020 forecast at 0.5%. Projections for Singapore were also lowered.

"Loosening monetary policy in key advanced economies and, correspondingly, easing financial conditions, are mitigating the impact of slower growth on Asian economies, but could add to financial vulnerabilities in the region," the IMF said.

Among emerging markets and developing economies, China's GDP growth was lowered by 0.2 and 0.3 percentage point to 6.1% and 5.8% for 2019 and 2020, respectively.

India's economy is expected to grow 6.1% for 2019, down 1.2 percentage points, and 7.0% in 2020, down 0.5 percentage point. Growth forecasts for Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Philippines were also lowered.

U.S.-China trade tensions, a no-deal Brexit and higher oil prices are among external downside risks to growth, while a faster-than-expected slowdown in China and deteriorating Japan-South Korea ties constitute risks within the region.