Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund said Asia is set for a sharp deceleration in growth this year and would see a tepid recovery in 2010.

In its latest report, the Washington-based lender said Asian economies, including the emerging Asia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, may require forceful countercyclical monetary and fiscal policies to emerge out of recession more quickly and vigorously.

The IMF expects Asian growth to fall sharply to 1.3% in 2009 from 5.1% in the previous year. The region's growth is expected to rebound in 2010 at a rate of 4.3%. In February, the lender had predicted 2.7% growth for 2009.

The IMF sees GDP declines in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia and Thailand this year. The worst decline is forecast for the city-state economy of Singapore, which is expected to shrink 10% this year.

Elsewhere, China's central bank said the economy performed better than expected in the first quarter. The bank pledged to maintain ample liquidity in the financial system to sustain growth. People's Bank of China adviser Fan Gang said China's economy is expected to grow 7%-8% in 2009 and 2010.

Producer prices in the Philippines rose 1.2% year-on-year in March, slower than a revised 1.8% rise in the previous month, the National Statistics Office said. Month-on-month, producer prices were up 0.5% in March, in contrast to a 0.4% decline in February.

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