Research Briefing | Apr 26, 2021

APAC | ASEAN tracker shows balanced risks for Q1 GDP

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Tracker data suggests that growth across the ASEAN bloc improved to a 1.5% y/y contraction in February following a 2.9% decline in January. The positive momentum in growth likely continued in March due to easing restrictions in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand at the end of February. We estimate that ASEAN-6 GDP growth rose to -1.5% y/y in Q1 2021 f rom -3% in Q4 2020.

What you will learn from this report:

  • Our growth tracker indicates that GDP gradually picked up within the ASEAN bloc in Q1. The pick-up was due to a shift to more targeted restrictions in early 2021 that were less disruptive to the region’s economy than in H1 2020.
  • Exports and industrial production drove the recovery, while retail sales still lagged growth in most ASEAN economies in Q1.
  •  There are some downside risks to our Q1 growth estimates for the Philippines and Thailand, and some upside risks for Indonesia and Malaysia.  Risks are balanced in our estimate of ASEAN Q1 GDP, but we remain cautious over the growth outlook as the coronavirus situation is still tenuous in many ASEAN economies.
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