Outlook Down Again as Trade War Impact Spreads
Concerns Persist over U.S.-China Tensions, Markets, Politics
Asian economists revised their growth forecasts downward again as the negative influence of the U.S.-China trade war has manifested in weakened exports throughout the region. The 2019 growth forecast for the ASEAN5 was 4.6%, marking the third consecutive downward revision since the September 2018 survey. Figures for export-oriented Thailand and Singapore were down. The Indian economy is expected to maintain growth of over 7%, but projections were revised downward for both 2019/20 and 2020/21. The softening of U.S. monetary policy may encourage new momentum for growth, but U.S.-China tensions and the slowdown of the Chinese economy persist as major risks. Political uncertainty is also seen as a risk, especially in India, Indonesia, and Thailand.
The outcome of this survey was also reported at Nikkei Asian Review. (April 8, 2019)
◆ Main points of the survey
- The weighted average of growth forecasts for ASEAN5 in 2019 was 4.6%, revised downward by 0.1 point from the previous survey in December 2018. The figure falls short of the growth rate achieved in 2018 by 0.2 points.
- 2019 projections were revised downward for Singapore and Thailand, due largely to weaker exports. The projection for the Philippines was also lowered, affected by the delay of budget implementation; growth outlooks for Indonesia and Malaysia remain unchanged.
- Growth projections for India were 7.1% for fiscal 2018/19 and 7.2% for 2019/20, revised down by 0.2 points and 0.1 point respectively. The downward revisions reflect political uncertainty.
- U.S.-China tensions over trade and high-tech issues, along with a Chinese economic slowdown, are seen as major risks. Uncertainty remains in the financial markets; political instability is seen as a key risk in India, Thailand, and Indonesia.
◆ List of survey respondents
Indonesia: Juniman, chief economist, Maybank Indonesia; Dendi Ramdani, head of industry and regional research department, Bank Mandiri; Umar Juoro, senior fellow, The Habibie Center; Wisnu Wardana, economist, Bank Danamon Indonesia
Malaysia: Suhaimi Ilias, group chief economist, Maybank Investment Bank; Vincent Loo Yeong Hong, senior manager, RHB Research Institute; Wan Suhaimie bin Wan Mohd Saidie, head, economic department, Kenanga Investment Bank; Anthony Dass, chief economist, AmBank Research; Manokaran Mottain, chief economist, Alliance Bank
Philippines: Alvin Ang , director, Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development, Ateneo de Manila University; Jonathan Ravelas, FVP-chief market strategist, BDO Unibank Inc.; Pauline Revillas, research analyst, Metrobank; Nicholas Mapa, senior economist , ING Bank Philippines; Victor Abola, senior economist, University of Asia and the Pacific; Carlo Asuncion, chief economist, Union Bank of the Philippines; Mitzie Conchada, associate dean, De La Salle University
Singapore: Manu Bhaskaran, CEO, Centennial Asia Advisors; Randolph Tan, director, Centre for Applied Research, Singapore University of Social Sciences; Yuma Tsuchiya, senior economist, MUFG Bank, Ltd.
Thailand: Panundorn Aruneeniramarn, assistant vice president, Siam Commercial Bank – Economic Intelligence Center; Nattaporn Triratanasirikul, assistance managing director, Kasikorn Research Center; Thammarat Kittisiripat, senior economist, KT ZMICO Securities; Somprawin Manprasert, head of research division and chief economist , Bank of Ayudhya PCL; Amonthep Chawla, head of research office, CIMB Thai Bank; Naris Sathapholdeja, team head of TMB analytics, TMB Bank PCL
India: Punit Srivastava, head of research, Daiwa Capital Markets India; Dharmakirti Joshi, chief economist, CRISIL; Sonal Varma, India chief economist, Nomura India; Tirthankar Patnaik, chief economist, India, National Stock Exchange of India; Shekhar Shah, director-general, National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER);
For multiple countries: Euben Paracuelles, senior economist, Nomura Singapore; Rahul Bajoria, director, regional economist, Barclays Bank; Donald Hanna, group chief economist, CIMB Group; HSBC
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