Asian Economies Slow as Trade War Escalates
Uncertainty Dims Outlooks; Elections in Focus
As U.S.-China tensions over trade and high-tech issues intensified, economists in Asian countries made further downward revisions to their growth outlooks. The 2019 growth forecast of 4.7% for the ASEAN5 is down by 0.1 point from the previous survey, marking two consecutive downward revisions. The outlooks for Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand were all down due to weaker export prospects. The Indian economy is expected to maintain growth of over 7%, but projections were revised downward for 2018/19 and 2019/20. It seems that economists are increasingly prepared to voice their concerns over the negative impact of the trade war. They also note with caution the increased uncertainty in such fields as financial markets, worrying that it could hinder steady economies.
The outcome of this survey was also reported at Nikkei Asian Review. (December 27, 2018)
◆ Main points of the survey
- The weighted average of growth forecasts for the ASEAN5 in 2018 was 4.8%, revised down by 0.1 point from the September survey. The projection for 2019 was 4.7%, revised down by 0.1 point, and remaining lower than the figure for 2018.
- 2019 projections were revised down for Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Domestic demand remains generally strong, but exports could weaken due largely to escalating U.S.-China trade war.
- Growth projections for India marked 7.3% for both 2018/19 and 2019/20, reflecting downward revisions of 0.1 point and 0.3 points respectively.
- Economists say their projections take downward risks into account.
- The U.S.-China trade war, financial markets, the Chinese economy, and elections in Asian countries are major developments/events in focus for 2019.
◆ 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; 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; Joey Cuyegkeng, senior economist , ING Bank Philippines; Emilio S. Neri Jr., vice president and lead economist, Bank of the Philippine Islands; Carlo Asuncion, chief economist, Union Bank of the Philippines
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: Krasae Rangsipol, 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 strategist and head of research, India, Mizuho Bank Limited*; Shekhar Shah, director-general, National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER); Aditi Nayar, principal economist, ICRA Limited;
For multiple countries: Euben Paracuelles, senior economist, Nomura Singapore; Rahul Bajoria, director, regional economist, Barclays Bank
*as of December 13, 2018
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