Economic strength spreading across Asia: HSBC chairman

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Asian economies will "grow pretty fast" over the next two decades, with Indonesia and Vietnam emerging as the new stars behind powerhouses China and India, HSBC chairman Stephen Green said Tuesday.

"Asia is not just a Chinese story, not even just a Chinese and Indian story," Green, chairman of the Asia-focused banking giant HSBC told a financial event held in London.

Look at "places like Indonesia, places like Vietnam -- (South) Korea will continue to be a power-house too -- Bangladesh is becoming a more and more interesting economy", said Green.

"The East is catching up" with its Western peers, he said, adding: "We've moved from a period in the world's history where a small number of rich countries representing a maximum 10 percent of the world's population was producing and consuming 40-50 percent of the world's output."

Asked how he saw Asia performing over the next 20 years, Green said: "I think they will continue to grow pretty fast. I think that the shift in the centre of gravity from the West to the East has only accelerated through the (financial) crisis and I think ... that shift will continue for the next generation at least."

Green forecast that Indonesia and Vietnam would become members of BRIC -- the world's top four emerging markets representing Brazil, Russia, India and China.

"I think they will be joined by a couple of other Asian countries. Indonesia is a country which is beginning to reach a more stable growth path and has all the ingredients for strong performance, assuming strong political leadership and stability there. Vietnam is another one."

Green added that Brazil was "on a very strong growth track, very closely linked of course with what is going on in Asia" because of the latter's thirst for the South American country's raw materials.

© 2010 AFP

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