Concerns Shift to Ukraine War, Inflation
Recovery in Sight as COVID Infection Recedes
With the spread of COVID-19—particularly the Omicron variant—having peaked, many expect economic resumption in Asian countries. Still, there are growing concerns that the Ukraine-Russia war will hinder economic recovery in Asia through soaring crude oil prices and shrinking exports.
The Japan Center for Economic Research and Nikkei conducted the twenty-fifth quarterly consensus survey on Asian economies from March 4 to March 24, collecting 34 answers from economists and analysts in the five largest members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations—Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand—and in India. Asked about the economic outlook for 2022-2024, economists expect the 2022 economic growth rate to exceed that of 2021 in most countries on the back of expectations for economic resumption. (This excludes India and Singapore, which recovered significantly in 2021.) Economists cite the slowing spread of the Omicron variant, which emerged in December 2021, and the relaxation of movement restrictions in each country.
Still, the Ukraine-Russia war that began in February of 2022 has emerged as a new risk to replace COVID shock. In Thailand and the Philippines, the economic growth rate has been revised downward from the previous survey, and the 2022 growth rate forecast for ASEAN has been revised downward by 0.2 points to 4.9%. The 2023-2024 growth rate of each country will return to pre-COVID levels, and the economy is expected to normalize.
The average growth rate of five countries of ASEAN is 4.9%, which is expected to increase further from the 4.0% in 2021 (Table 1). After the damage caused by the spread of COVID-19 infection, the economic recovery will be remarkable. India will recover sharply to achieve 8.9% growth in fiscal 2021 from negative growth in fiscal 2020, and the growth rate in fiscal 2022 will slow down slightly to 7.8%, still surpassing the five ASEAN countries growth rate.
The outcome of this survey was also reported at Nikkei Asia. (April 4, 2022)
◆ Main points of the survey
- The average 2022 growth rate forecast of five ASEAN countries is 4.9%. Economists expect the rate to increase further from the 4.0% posted in 2021. India’s GDP growth rate in fiscal 2022 will be 7.8%, surpassing that of ASEAN. With the spread of COVID-19—particularly the Omicron variant—having peaked, many expect economic resumption in Asian countries.
- Still, there are growing concerns that the Ukraine-Russia war will hinder economic recovery in Asia through soaring crude oil prices and shrinking exports. For the Philippines and Thailand, the 2022 full-year growth forecast has been revised downward. In India, Malaysia and the Philippines, the outlook for January-March 2022 has been revised downward.
- Inflation related risks, including rising crude oil prices, replaced COVID shock as the No.1 risk. In the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore, COVID shock has fallen from the top three.
Indonesia: Dendi Ramdani, head of industry and regional research department, Bank Mandiri; Umar Juoro, senior fellow, The Habibie Center; Wisnu Wardana, economist, PT Bank Danamon Indonesia Tbk.
Malaysia: Suhaimi Ilias, chief economist, Maybank Investment Bank; Wan Suhaimie bin Wan Mohd Saidie, head, economic research, Kenanga Investment Bank; Vincent Loo Yeong Hong, senior economist, KAF Research
Philippines: Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist, BDO Unibank Inc.; Pauline Revillas, research analyst, Metrobank; Victor Abola, senior economist, University of Asia and the Pacific; Carlo Asuncion, chief economist, Union Bank of the Philippines; Jojo Gonzales, managing director, Philippine Equity Partners Inc.
Singapore: Manu Bhaskaran, CEO, Centennial Asia Advisors
Thailand: Poonyawat Sreesing, senior economist, Siam Commercial Bank – Economic Intelligence Center; Lalita Thienprasiddhi, senior resercher, Kasikorn Research Center; Somprawin Manprasert, head of research division and chief economist, Bank of Ayudhya PCL
India: Punit Srivastava, head of research, Daiwa Capital Markets India; Dharmakirti Joshi, chief economist, CRISIL; Anshuman Khanna, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, FICCI, Assistant Secretary General; Tirthankar Patnaik, chief economist, National Stock Exchange of India; Bidisha Ganguly, chief economist, Confederation of Indian Industry; Rahul Bajoria, director, regional economist, Barclays Bank; Aurodeep Nandi, India economist, Nomura India; Sonal Varma, chief India economist, Nomura India
For multiple countries: Euben Paracuelles, chief economist, Nomura Singapore; Nicholas Mapa, senior economist, ING Bank Philippines; Brian Tan, Regional economist, VP, Barclays Bank, Singapore; Shreya Sodhani, regional economist, Barclays Bank, Singapore
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