NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Consumer spending in Asia is likely to reach $32 trillion by 2030, powered by the emergence of a rising middle class in the fast growing economies of China and India, the Asian Development Bank said on Thursday.
Contributing 43 percent of worldwide consumption in the next 20 years, Asia will assume the traditional role of the U.S. and European middle classes, the Manila-based bank said in a report released in New Delhi.
It estimated Asian consumers spent about $4.3 trillion, or about a third of OECD consumption expenditure in 2008.
“Developing Asia’s middle class is rapidly increasing its size and purchasing power, and will be an increasingly important force in global economic rebalancing,” Chief Economist Jong-Wha Lee said in the ADB’s 2010 report on key regional indicators.
Nearly 56 percent of the population, or about 1.9 billion people, have pulled themselves into the ranks of those earning $2 to $20 per day in 2008, the ADB said, with the number growing by around 205 million in India from 1990 to 2008, second only to China.
But it cautioned that more than 75 percent of India’s middle class remain in straitened circumstances, and at risk of falling back into poverty if hit by a major economic shock such as the global financial crisis.
Economic growth in China added 800 million people to the middle class between 1990 and 2008, when spending in Asia rose almost three-fold versus marginal increases in other regions, it said.
The rise of the middle class in Asia could sharpen environmental and health concerns that until recently were more typical of wealthier parts of Asia and the world.
Editing by Ranjit Gangadharan and Clarence Fernandez