Economists Cautious, but Maintain Steady Forecasts
Trade War, Markets Among Rising Concerns
The last three months have brought rapid changes in the business environment, including increased U.S.-China trade tensions and market trembling in some emerging economies following U.S. tightening. Asian economists, however, are standing by steady forecasts for their economies in 2018 and beyond. Growth forecasts for major Southeast Asian countries held at levels nearly identical to those of the previous survey in March. Respondents projected growth rates of over 7% for India toward 2019/20, backed by strong domestic demand. Still, economists revealed a more cautious stance toward some looming risks. Rising protectionism coupled with worsening U.S.-China trade relations has sparked serious concern. The possible impact of faster-than-expected U.S. rate hikes has also attracted attention. Such changes are clearly reflected in the results of our risk scoring system and in the answers to this survey's special question.
The outcome of this survey was also reported at Nikkei Asian Review. (July 10, 2018)
◆ Main points of the survey
- The weighted average of growth forecasts for the ASEAN5 in 2018 was unchanged from the previous survey at 5.0%. The figures for Thailand and Singapore were up, while figures for Indonesia and Malaysia were down. The projection for the Philippines was unchanged. Domestic demand is generally strong and exports continue their longer-than-expected rise.
- The growth projection for India in 2018/19 was 7.4%, unchanged from the previous survey. The figure is higher by 0.7 points than the 6.7% achieved in 2017/18.
- Foreign exchange rate projections were revised from the previous survey toward weaker currencies in all countries, especially in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
- Rise of protectionism was recognized as the biggest risk in Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, while currency depreciation was seen as the greatest risk in Indonesia and India. These risks tallied an “alarming level” score, indicating economists’ shared concerns regarding these issues.
◆ List of survey respondents
Indonesia: Juniman, chief economist, Maybank Indonesia; Dendi Ramdani, head of industry and regional research department, Bank Mandiri; Umar Juoro, chairman, CIDES (Center for Information and Development Studies); Wisnu Wardana, economist, PT Bank Danamon Indonesia
Malaysia: Suhaimi Ilias, group chief economist, Maybank Investment Bank; Vincent Loo Yeong Hong, senior manager, RHB Research Institute Sdn Bhd; Wan Suhaimie Saidie, head, economics 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 May Ann E. Revillas, research analyst, Metrobank; Joey Cuyegkeng, senior economist, ING Bank; Victor Abola, senior economist, University of Asia and the Pacific; Carlo Asuncion, chief economist, Union Bank of the Phillipines
Singapore: Manu Bhaskaran, CEO, Centennial Asia Advisors; Randolph Tan, director, Center for Applied Research, Singapore University of Social Sciences; Yuma Tsuchiya, senior economist, MUFG Bank Ltd.
Thailand: Krasae Rangsipol, senior economist, Siam Commercial Bank Economic Intelligence Center; Nattaporn Triratanasirikul, head-research of macroeconomics, 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 PCL; Naris Sathapholdeja, team head, TMB Analytics, TMB Bank PCL
India: Punit Srivastava, head of research, Daiwa Capital Markets India; Dharmakirti Joshi, chief economist, CRISIL; Sonal Varma, chief India economist, Nomura India; Tirthankar Patnaik, chief strategist and head of reserch, India, Mizuho Bank Limited; Dilip Chenoy, secretary general, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)
For multiple countries: Euben Paracuelles, senior economist, Nomura Singapore; David Fernandez, chief Asia-Pacific economist, Barclays Bank
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