Emerging Asia: a look at the growth picture

Chart of the week

Most emerging Asian countries have published their first-quarter growth figures and India will publish them on 31st May. Assuming that the slowdown expected in India materialises, first-quarter growth in Asian countries stands at 5.7% year-on-year compared with 5.9% in the two previous quarters, a ten-year low.

OUR ANALYSIS

A breakdown in growth contributions, which excludes China because it does not publish details and India because information is not yet available, shows that the slowdown in emerging Asian growth over the last two quarters is chiefly due to investment and exports. In contrast, private spending remains globally healthy across the region.

Heightened protectionism no doubt explains some of the factors affecting the growth picture. China’s exports to the United States have fallen due to increased tariffs on US imports of Chinese products. The fall has led to knock-on effects in countries across Asia via the production chain, with China reducing its intermediate goods imports and especially electronic products. Trade tensions have also had a negative impact on confidence levels, causing investment to weaken.

The latest statistics from countries further upstream in the supply chain such as South Korea and Taiwan show a slight improvement in sentiment and exports since the low point in February, leaving hope for the overall production cycle. However, this improvement coincided with an easing in Sino-US trade tensions that has since disappeared, raising fears of a reversal. May’s PMI (1) surveys should provide information that will help to fill in the picture.

 

(1) PMI : PMI indices are confidence indicators that summarize the results of surveys conducted among company purchasing managers. A value greater than 50 indicates a positive sentiment in the sector concerned (manufacturing or service)

The opinion expressed above is dated May 29th, 2019, and liable to change.

 

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Julien-Pierre Nouen

Directeur des études économiques et de la gestion diversifiée