Unshaken by bloody riots on the streets of Bangkok, our readers are confident that business conditions in the region will improve during the coming three months. In our web poll, readers voted overwhelmingly that the second quarter will be more favourable than the first three months of the year. They have good reason to be upbeat. Government beancounters across the region are preparing to give their first official hints of economic growth during January to March and expectations are high that the numbers will be good. Some analysts are predicting that China will reveal economic growth of as much as 12% and there are similar stories of recovery throughout Asia. In South Korea, economic indicators are all moving in the right direction once again and finance ministry officials are predicting that first-quarter growth will outstrip the 6% reported at the end of 2009. India, meanwhile, is almost re-born after the crisis, with industrial production hitting a 15-year record in December. Singapore, one of the worst-affected Asian economies during the crisis, is now bouncing back with gusto and is expected to post economic growth of around 20%. Even Thailand is expected to post modest economic growth despite its political problems. In total, 60% of respondents to our poll said the business outlook for the second quarter is more favourable than it had been during the first quarter, compared to just 28% who said it was less favourable. Close to 12% of the 177 respondents said that conditions were the same.
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