Page last updated at 07:54 GMT, Monday, 9 March 2009

Asia hit hard by financial crisis

Investor looks at share prices in Shanghai
Asia has been badly knocked but could recover fast

The financial crisis wiped $50 trillion (35tn) off the value of financial assets last year, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.

Nearly $10 trillion of those losses were in developing Asia alone (Asia excluding Japan), it said, the equivalent to one year's GDP.

The downturn hit Asia harder than other emerging economies because of its recent fast growth, it said.

The bank predicted Asia would be one of the first to emerge from recession.

"Asia was hit harder than other parts of the developing world because the region's markets have expanded much more rapidly," the bank said in a statement.

"Losses on financial assets in developing Asia in 2008 totalled $9.6 trillion, or just over one year's worth of GDP," it said.

"This is by far the most serious crisis to hit the world economy since the Great Depression," Harukhiko Kuroda, the ADB President said.

But he predicted that "Asia would be one of the first regions to emerge from it".

Few, if any countries, are immune and a recovery is only likely from late 2009, it said.

In Latin America, losses were estimated at $2.1 trillion, it said.

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