Economic planners and experts at the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2023, which started on Tuesday, have cautioned on the uncertainties in the global economic recovery but also highlighted its resilience, expressing confidence in the overall global economic trajectory.
The forum, which runs from March 28 to 31, in the town of Boao in China's island province of Hainan, has attracted some 2,000 participants from over 50 countries and regions. The tone of cautious optimism voiced by many at the event is backed by economic data from several sources.
In January, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted a global economic growth rate of 2.9 percent for 2023, which is slightly higher than its forecast in October 2022.
"This year's situation has gone optimistic so far," said Zhao Chenxin, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planning body.
He noted that several uncertainties remain, including whether major economies like the United States and Europe can effectively tame inflation, as well as countercurrents against economic globalization and risks like government debt.
"In the face of these major economic difficulties and challenges, we must remain confident," said Zhao, stressing that "the path leading to world economic recovery and development can be tortuous, but the future is bright."
Zhao pointed out positive factors such as a new round of scientific and technological revolution, industrial upgrading, and intelligent and green transformation. "We will continue to pursue inclusive and win-win cooperation and make a greater contribution to the recovery and development of the world economy," he said.
Ahmed M. Saeed, vice president of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), said that Asia will be a major driver for global growth. ADB predicts the growth rate for Asia to be 4.6 percent in 2023.
"Asia is continuing, at least in the immediate future, to do well," he said.
BFA Secretary-General Li Baodong said Asia's growth and development is the biggest highlight against the backdrop of the global economic slowdown. The Asian economy is growing steadily, and China's economic rebound has sent a very strong signal, which is stability amid instability, he said.
China has set a GDP growth target of around 5 percent for 2023. The International Monetary Fund has raised its projection for China's economic growth in 2023 to 5.2 percent. At Boao, forum participants are reassured by China's robust economic pulse.
"China's recovery means it will play a more important role in driving global growth, particularly in the year when worries about global recession are mounting," said Ben Simpfendorfer, a partner at Oliver Wyman, a leading consulting company.
He said that China's imports are on the correct path for recovery, and both consumer spending and capital spending will begin to strengthen in China.