ISMR February 2024 | Page 43

REGIONAL REPORT area , which places a strong emphasis on the use of low-carbon manufacturing techniques , resource efficiency and environmentally friendly practices . Many inter-related issues , such as tightening environmental regulations , the increased focus on carbon neutrality and the need for affordable and efficient steel manufacturing are driving the industry ,” said the analyst .

In the Asia-Pacific region , sustainable steel is becoming more and more popular . It meets the needs of a variety of industries such as infrastructure , automotive and construction , while also meeting the urgent need to lessen the environmental impact of steel production . The expansion of the Asia-Pacific sustainable steel market is anticipated to be driven by strict government regulations , carbon neutrality objectives , energy efficiency in the use of recycled steel and a significant increase in steel demand as a result of finite energy and raw material supplies .
“ However , challenges such as contaminants in recovered steel from improper separation and complex product designs in addition to the high production costs of green steel in the face of significant infrastructure costs and green hydrogen prices , constitute significant market barriers in this area ,” cautioned the analyst .
China in focus
The International Monetary Fund expects the Chinese economy to grow at 5.4 per cent in 2023 , reflecting a strong post-COVID rebound . But growth is expected to slow in 2024 to 4.6 per cent “ amid continuing weakness in the property market and subdued external demand .”
“ A strategy to contain the risks from the ongoing property sector adjustment and manage local government ( LG ) debt is needed to lift sentiment and boost near-term prospects . Supportive macroeconomic policies should complement these efforts ,” advised the IMF in November 2023 .
It recommended broad-based and pro-market structural reforms aimed at boosting productivity , supporting rebalancing and decarbonisation to support new engines of growth and mitigate the negative effects of ageing , diminishing returns on investment and geoeconomic fragmentation .
The IMF ' s First Deputy Managing Director , Ms . Gita Gopinath , commented :“ Over the last few decades , China has outpaced other nations at similar levels of development . It has grown at over eight per cent annually since 2000 , significantly improving living standards and eliminating extreme poverty . However , China ’ s credit-fuelled growth in recent years was accompanied by widening imbalances and rising vulnerabilities . Excessively high household savings were used to finance infrastructure and residential investment with diminishing returns , resulting in elevated debt levels .
“ Rapid expansion in the property sector led to oversupply of housing in certain areas , while rising prices led to housing affordability pressures . The authorities ’ goal to engineer the needed adjustment in the property market is welcome . The challenge is to minimize the economic costs and contain risks to the macrofinancial stability . Importantly , the recently concluded Central Financial Work Conference announced medium-term priorities , with a welcome focus on risks from the property sector , local government debt and small and medium banks ,” she continued .
The IMF expects China ’ s core inflation to increase to 2.1 per cent by the end of 2024 as the output gap continues to narrow . Over the medium term , growth is projected to gradually decline to about 3.5 per cent by 2028 amid headwinds from weak productivity and population ageing .
“ Whenever China slows , it has a bearing on the global economy and notably on Asian economies . China contributes almost a third to global growth in 2023 . So , again , if China slows , it has a bearing . What we have found is that , when Chinese growth declines by one percentage point , on average other economies ’ growth declines by 0.3 percentage points over the medium term . So , it ’ s even more important for Asian economies because intraregional trade in Asia is more than 50 percent and a large part of that is China ,” outlined Dr . Krishna Srinivasan , Director of the Asia and Pacific Department , International Monetary Fund , in October last year .
The Asia-Pacific sustainable steel market ( excluding China ) is projected to reach US $ 153.4 billion by 2031
Details of the façade of the Xiqu centre in Hong Kong . Image : Sergio Capuzzimati , Unsplash .
Shinjuku , Japan . Image : Redd F , Unsplash .
The facade of the Xiqu centre in Hong Kong . He also highlighted “ the inherent dynamism Image : Sergio Capuzzimati , Unsplash . in the Chinese economy based on remarkable achievements made in human capital , innovation and research ” and believes that it is important to leverage these strengths .
In this article , we list below the latest IMF market projections for selected Asia-Pacific economies .
Market projections for Thailand
The IMF forecasted Thailand ’ s growth at 2.7 per cent in 2023 , slightly higher than 2.6 per cent in 2022 while inflation was expected to remain well within the authorities ’ target range . The outlook , it said , remains highly uncertain with downside risks prevailing .
“ The continued normalisation of macroeconomic policies in the near term will help rebuild fiscal buffers and ensure financial stability . A high-quality , gradual , medium-term fiscal consolidation supported by enhanced revenue mobilisation and improved spending efficiency will provide space for essential investments , while keeping public debt on
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