THE Philippines, along with Asean neighbors Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, appears to be performing better in export terms despite signs of a significant slowdown elsewhere in Asia and the world, an analysis of the latest economic data shows.
Data collected by the World Bank indicates that Asian trade has retreated considerably from year-ago levels, and the picture is rather grim among major Asian exporters outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Exports from China fell 4.8 percent year-on-year in June, while South Korea saw a 2.7 percent retraction in June widening to a 10.2 percent drop in July. Japan experienced slight improvement in June as it registered only a single-digit decline of 7.4 percent that month after recording declines of 10.1 percent and 11.3 percent in April and May, respectively. Taiwan likewise saw a year-on-year drop in exports, with outbound trade shrinking 2.1 percent.
India, on the other hand, was one bright spot among major Asian economies, seeing exports expand by a modest 1.27 percent in June. It was, however, the first positive export growth in 19 months for the country.
Asean doing better
The export picture was somewhat more attractive among the bigger economies of the Asean nations. The Philippines saw a decline of 3.8 percent year on year in May, but that was the slowest yearly retraction in five months, and indications of growing trade volumes from Manila’s port terminals suggest a gradual turnaround is underway. Indonesia saw a similar trend; exports in June dropped 4.75 percent from a year earlier, but the decline was much slower than the previous month’s near-10 percent decline.
Malaysia experienced an unexpected turnaround, bucking most analysts’ forecasts of flat export performance with a 3.4 percent increase in June. Thailand also improved, following up a 4.4-percent decline in May with a drop of just 0.1 percent in June. Singapore exports fell 2.3 percent year-on-year in June, but had surged by 11.6 percent in the previous month. An analyst from Singapore-based bank DBS attributed the June decline to weaker markets in China, Singapore’s main export destination.