MANILA – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has revised downwards its growth forecast for Southeast Asia this year as country-specific factors weigh in.

In its Asian Development Outlook Supplement, the Manila-based lender has cut its initial growth outlook for the region from 5 percent to 4.7 percent.

For the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-5 (which include the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam), ADB revised down its gross domestic product (GDP) forecast from 5.2 percent to 4.8 percent.

According to ADB, recent data show that economic expansion has softened in the region as growth prospevcts “faltered” in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

In tha case of Indonesia, the first-quarter numbers indicated that growth slowed to 5.2 percent on the back of soft external demand, low commodity prices and temporary ban on exports of selected minerals tempered recovery in net exports.

Thailand, on the other hand, is being dragged down by its political deadlock, affecting local demand and tourism. Its economy contracted by 0.6 percent in the first three months of the year and likely it may have contracted again in the second quarter.

The adjustment in Vietnam’s growth outlook was hinged on the tensions between Hanoi and Beijing and their effects on economic activity, including the factory riots.

“As the factors slowing growth in 2014 are expected to be temporary, the forecast of growth at 5.4% in 2015 is maintained,” ADB said.

Growth forecast for other Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines are still in line with ADB’s 2014 expectations.

For this year, the lender is expecting a 6.4-percent growth for the Philippines, which would eventually accelerate to 6.7 percent in 2015, on the back of the growth in foreign direct investments, achived through the help of increased confidence in the country’s fundamentals and reforms. –Likha Cuevas-Miel, InterAksyon.com