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Asian Economy: Overview, Growth & Development

Asian Economy: Overview, Growth & Development
China’s economic data misses expectations as economy continues to show uneven recovery

China’s economic data for April broadly missed expectations as the economy continued to show an uneven path of recovery from the impact of its stringent Covid restrictions.

Industrial production for April rose by 5.6 percent year-on-year, compared to the 10.9 percent expected by economists surveyed in a Reuters poll. The figure was up 3.9 percent in March following a muted start to the year.

Retail sales rose by 18.4 percent – lower than economists’ forecast a surge of 21 percent.

Fixed asset investment rose by 4.7 percent, against expectations of 5.5 percent. The reading rose 5.1 percent the previous month.

“China is in the stage of recovering, compared to last year, the numbers are positive as we just saw, but is the recovery good enough for the market, is the recovery good enough to meet investors’ expectations – that’s the big question here,” BofA Securities China equity strategist Winnie Wu told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia.”

“It’s not good enough to meet with investors’ expectations – that’s a problem,” Wu said, adding that the momentum from China’s pent-up demand seems to be fading away.

India: what the smartphone market tells us about its economy

Even as Apple touts India as its next big growth area, clouds are gathering over the country’s smartphone market.

Industry figures show that handset sales in the country have fallen to the lowest level since 2019.

It comes even as the technology giant’s boss says India is at a “tipping point” with its expanding middle class.

While Apple, which last month opened its first two stores in India, grew its market share – cheaper rivals are struggling to sell their phones.

According to research firm the International Data Corporation (IDC), 31m smartphones were shipped in India during the first three months of this year.

That was 16 percent lower than in the same period of 2022 and the lowest first-quarter shipments in four years.

Bangladesh: economic growth is driven by a large domestic consumer market

Currently, Bangladesh is a dynamic, fast-growing market. Growth is driven by a large domestic consumer market, a rapidly expanding middle and affluent class and an impressive digital adoption rate.

The Nation is now home to more than 2,500 startups, with about 200 more being added each year, focusing on a wide range of industries, including financial technology (fintech), logistics and mobility, and e-commerce. And there remains a thriving group of traditional companies and conglomerates that have for well over a decade played an important role in domestic and global supply chains for textile, apparel, light manufacturing, and aquaculture.

Despite this noteworthy commercial activity, Bangladesh is largely untapped, even as the country continues to show signs that it can be a powerful marketplace.

With an average annual GDP growth of 6.4 percent between 2016 and 2021, Bangladesh has outpaced Asian peers, such as India, Indonesia, and Philippines, and has performed significantly better than the global average of 2.9 percent. The country’s GDP per capita was ~$2,800 in 2022—already higher than India’s. And at its current growth rate, Bangladesh is on track to become an upper-middle-income country (at least ~$4,000 GDP per capita) by 2031.

How Hong Kong can deepen engagement with Indonesia, Asean’s largest economy

As Hong Kong reopens, we must seize the moment for meaningful re-internationalisation and the 10-member Asean bloc, our second-largest trading partner, is a linchpin.

Within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Indonesia is the largest economy. It is the world’s 10th-largest economy in purchasing power parity terms and poised to become the fourth-largest by 2045; Indonesia’s strategic importance is only increasing. The International Monetary Fund expects its economy to grow by 5 percent this year, close to China’s 5.2 percent projection.

Japan economy minister Goto: BOJ must respond nimbly to downside risks

Japan’s Economy Minister Shigeyuki Goto said on Monday he hoped the central bank will respond nimbly to any sharp changes in or downside risks to the economy.

In a press conference, Goto said the government “recognises and believes it is meaningful” for the Bank of Japan (BOJ) to conduct a review of its unconventional monetary policy steps to combat deflation in the past 25 years.

“The BOJ has said the review won’t bind its policy conduct when economic conditions change. When various downside risks emerge, and the economy and financial conditions change, the BOJ must respond nimbly,” Goto said after attending a meeting of the government’s top economic council.

Malaysia’s economy beats forecasts with 5.6 pc growth

Malaysia’s economy picked up in the first quarter buoyed by firm domestic demand, central bank and government data showed on Friday.

Gross domestic product rose 5.6 percent, according to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and the Statistics Department, faster than the 4.8 percent annual expansion forecast by analysts in a Reuters news agency poll. In the fourth quarter of 2022, the economy had grown 7.1 percent, revised up from a previously announced 7.0 percent.

Growth hit a 22-year high of 8.7 percent last year as Malaysia bounced back from a pandemic slump, but cooling global demand is expected to weigh on the outlook for the export-oriented Southeast Asian economy.

The central bank, however, said robust domestic demand will continue to drive economic expansion, maintaining its 2023 growth forecast at between 4 percent and 5 percent.

Nepal: economy confronts a challenge to national stability

The WION News channel from New Delhi headquarters said on 3 May “Nepal’s economy has plunged into recession for the first time in 60 years.

The country, on Tuesday, put a forecast at its economic growth rate-this fiscal year would be only 2.16 percent.

However, the forecast from Nepal’s national statistical office is lower than the projections of the institutions such as the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).”

Is it politics or how far is this true and what do you learn from other recent financial crises is an argument in South Asia and the largest economy the US.

Furthermore, Nepal is authenticating the fake Bhutanese refugee scam that is questing the conviction of donors and international agencies.

It has downgraded the confidence of the general people as well as raised an argument of national security and national credibility of the politicized institutions and the political system.

As per the Public Department Management Office (PDMO) South Asian countries owes 87.89 percent of their foreign debt to multilateral donors like the WB, ADB and bilateral donors.

Philippine economy grows amidst global challenges: IMF

The Philippine economy achieved one of the highest growth rates among emerging economies in 2022, with GDP growth forecast to moderate to 6 percent in 2023 due to a challenging external environment, as per the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

An IMF team led by Shanaka Jay Peiris met with officials in Manila from May 8-12 to discuss recent economic and financial developments. “The Philippine economy has achieved one of the strongest recoveries in emerging markets following the pandemic-related deep economic downturn,” Peiris said in a statement.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has increased the policy rate to 6.25 percent, anchoring inflation expectations. However, persistent core inflation suggests that a tighter stance may be necessary for an extended period.

Sri Lankan economy to contract by 3pc in 2023

The Sri Lankan economy is expected to contract by 3 percent in 2023 given the weak external environment, Krishna Srinivasan, Director of the Asia Pacific Department at the International Monetary Fund, said on Monday.

An IMF team is in Colombo as part of regular consultations ahead of the first review mission later this year. The team met with multiple officials including President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is also the finance minister.

Sri Lanka, with the help of a $2.9 billion bailout from the global lender, is trying to steer out of its worst financial crisis since gaining independence in 1948 and turn around its battered economy.

The island nation defaulted on its foreign debt last April.

Sri Lankan authorities formally presented a request for debt treatment in the first meeting of the official bilateral creditors committee, which include India and Paris Club members earlier this month. China, which is the island’s largest bilateral lender, participated as an observer. (Writing by Swati Bhat editing by Ed Osmond and Deepa Babington)

Qatar and Vietnam review economic, commercial ties

Qatar Chamber board member Eng. Ali Abdullatif Al Misnad lauded the close relations between Qatar and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in all fields, particularly in the economic and commercial spheres, noting that this is evident through the mutual visits and agreements signed between them in various fields.

This came during a meeting held at the Chamber’s venue on Thursday with a Vietnamese business delegation led by Deputy Director General for Asia & Africa at the Ministry of Industry and Trade Nguyen Phun Nam in the presence of the Ambassador of Vietnam to Qatar, H E Tran Duc Hung and a crowd of businessmen from both sides.

The meeting touched on reviewing the economic and commercial relations between both countries and exploring the cooperation vistas between the Qatari Vietnamese private sectors and the investment opportunities available in both sides.

As for the two countries’ bilateral trade, Al Misnad said it reached QR2bn last year, compared to QR1.5bn in 2021, registering a 32 percent growth.

Regarding mutual investments, he stressed that the two countries’ investment cooperation witnessed significant development in recent years and there are a number of investments in various sectors such as healthcare and pharmaceuticals. He also emphasised the leading role that can be performed by the Qatari and Vietnamese private sectors in developing relations between both countries by forging trading and investment alliances and partnerships, whether in Qatar or in Vietnam.

Thailand economy likely picked up speed in q1 as tourism rebounds – reuters poll

Thailand’s economy likely picked up speed in the first quarter aided by a strong recovery in the tourism sector and a rebound in private consumption, but a weakening global economy poses the biggest risk to the outlook, a Reuters poll found.

The tourism-reliant economy’s recovery has lagged its regional peers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but turned a corner with the return of Chinese tourists in recent months boosting employment and domestic demand.

Thailand’s economy grew 2.3 percent in the January-March quarter from a year ago, up from 1.4 percent growth in the prior quarter, according to the median forecast of 20 economists polled May 8-11.

On a quarterly basis, gross domestic product (GDP) was forecast to have grown a seasonally-adjusted 1.7 percent, after contracting 1.5 percent in the previous quarter, the survey showed.

Forecasts ranged from 0.4 percent to 2.3 percent for the data due to be released on May 15.

A winner has emerged in the old rivalry between Singapore and Hong Kong

Dinner-party conversations across Asia have often been animated by an old debate. In economic dynamism, the state of the urban fabric and the vibrancy of civic life, which city comes top: Hong Kong or Singapore? Until not long ago, it was obvious to Banyan, who spent a decade working there, that Hong Kong won hands down. But recently the balance shifted. There is clearly no contest anymore. It is game over in favour of Singapore. As a consequence, Banyan has moved there.

Hong Kong and Singapore, once dirt-poor, have astonishing success stories to tell. Both are hubs for international finance, trade, transport and tourism. Both have attracted the brightest professional minds. Both built world-beating universities.

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