27 May 2011 05:26 [Source: ICIS news]
FUKUOKA, Japan (ICIS)--Asian petrochemical industry leaders on Friday praised Japan for its resilience in the aftermath of the tsunami that struck the country in March, saying the Japanese showed discipline as it faced disaster.
Industry representatives from South Korea, Taiwan, India, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia spoke at the Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC).
APIC comprises industry associations in those six countries and the Japan Petrochemical Industry Association (JPCA), which is hosting this year's edition of the conference in Fukuoka on 26-27 May.
JPCA chairman, Kyohei Takahashi, said a “severe downturn” was almost certain for the Japanese economy as a result of the earthquake and tsunami, which struck northeastern Japan on 11 March, taking thousands of lives and leaving significant damage in the country.
But Takahashi cited growing expectations among economists that the Japanese economy will pick up fairly quickly along with the restoration of the supply chain.
Government spending on the reconstruction will start soon, he said, adding that these factors combined would eventually foster growth in 2011.
“Robust growth is expected for 2012,” Takahashi told APIC delegates during an opening address.
Japan has slipped back into a technical recession as the earthquake and tsunami significantly dented production and exports of the world’s third largest economy.
Japan's economic output fell by 0.9% quarter on quarter, with the annualised rate of decline at 3.7%, according to data from Japan’s Cabinet Office released earlier this month.
Most economists had been expecting a 2% year-on-year GDP contraction for the March quarter.
A technical recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of shrinking economic output.
Japan may see at least one more quarterly contraction before the economy can return on a growth path, research firm Action Economics has predicted.
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