ASEAN-5 growth forecast trimmed as exports slow

Ma. Kristalina Georgiva

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) trimmed its growth forecast for five members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members amid their continued weakening export figures.

In its World Economic Outlook January 2020 published on Monday, the IMF said it now projects the ASEAN-5’s economic expansion to ease by 0.1 percentage point this year and the next, to 4.8 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively.

The ASEAN-5 is composed of the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

“Growth prospects have been revised down slightly for Indonesia and Thailand, where continued weakness in exports is also weighing on domestic demand,” the report read without elaborating.

Prior to the new forecast, the IMF in its October 2019 outlook expected Indonesia’s gross domestic product to expand to 5 percent this year and 5.1 percent next year. The forecast marked a trim of 0.2 and 0.1 percentage points, respectively.

Last year, Indonesia recorded some $167.53 billion worth of exports and $170.72 billion imports, resulting in a trade deficit of $3.2 billion.

Meanwhile, Thailand saw exports decline by 7.39 percent in November 2019 to $19.66 billion. Imports totaled to $19.11 billion in the same period, marking a 13.78-percent drop year-on-year.

Meanwhile, the IMF also revised downward its growth projection for the global economy for last year to 2.9 percent, a 0.1-percent slide from its previous projection.

IMF cited a higher-than-expected slowdown in India and other emerging markets, despite a boost in market sentiment amid the first-phase trade deal between the United States and China.

The fund said the new forecast would mark as the slowest pace since the global financial crisis, with trade jitters weighing on investment and exports.

For this year, the IMF said global growth is forecast to rise to 3.3 percent and 3.4 percent in 2021, still a downward revision by 0.1 and 0.2 percentage points, respectively, from prior projections.

As reported by Reuters, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgiva was quoted as saying that the global economy has “not reached a turning point yet.”

“The reality is that global growth remains sluggish,” she added.