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Asia-Pacific's overall economic picture brightens slightly: S&P Global Ratings

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S&P Global Ratings said the macro view looks "a bit more secure" in two key economies in the Asia-Pacific region - Japan and India, both of which have made strong policy decisions in recent months.

S&P Global Ratings said the macro view looks "a bit more secure" in two key economies in the Asia-Pacific region - Japan and India, both of which have made strong policy decisions in recent months.

It said this in a report titled Asia-Pacific's Overall Economic Picture Brightens A Bit Outside Of China published on Wednesday.

It added that Australia's economic growth has been better than expected. More generally, nominal trade numbers in Asia-Pacific are starting to pick up as oil prices recover and the sharp declines of the past one and a half years drop out of the data.

"Inflation, which was pulled down by falling oil and other commodity prices, has started to rise to more normal levels as well," said Paul Gruenwald, Asia-Pacific chief economist at S&P Global Ratings. "A number of central banks lowered policy rates in an effort to nudge growth higher."

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S&P Global Ratings observed that in contrast, "China's economic growth trajectory remains troublesome at least over the medium term". "Its GDP (gross domestic product) growth target, which in our view is more political than economic, remains too high given the lack of external demand and slow productivity growth," it added.

Mr Gruenwald argued that China's credit-driven expansion, which has been ongoing since the global financial crisis, is not sustainable, particularly since it is no longer a low-debt country. "There is little immediate danger, in our view, but the longer the 'extend-and-pretend' mindset prevails, the larger the imbalances and the larger the adjustment in the future," he cautioned.

According to S&P Global Ratings, the first wave of volatility following the Brexit vote has been "digested smoothly", although there is "surely more to come". It expects central banks to act to provide liquidity, limit excessive volatility, and strive to keep markets orderly in any episodes of post-Brexit volatility.

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