Assessing the benefits of the world’s biggest FTA

Talks to establish the world’s biggest free-trade agreement, the Regional Economic Comprehensive Partnership (RCEP), are finally expected to conclude at the weekend. While a deal would provide a boost to sentiment, the direct economic benefits would be both small and not materialise for many years.
Gareth Leather Senior Asia Economist
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China Economics Weekly

Capacity constraints put a ceiling on export outlook

In the long-run, the global spread of highly-transmissible coronavirus strains may make China’s zero-COVID stance untenable but the immediate response to concerns about B.1.1.529  is more likely to be a doubling down on the strategy, with rolling local lockdowns in response to any local cases and continued tight border controls. China’s exporters could benefit from another wave of lockdown-induced demand elsewhere in the world. But capacity limits, particularly at ports, potentially exacerbated by further port shutdowns, may limit their ability to meet orders.

26 November 2021

China Activity Monitor

Service sector recovery remains lacklustre

Our China Activity Proxy (CAP) shows that growth ticked up last month as energy shortages eased and the service sector continued to recover from virus disruptions over the summer. But the rebound remains lacklustre, with output still well below June’s peak. And while the outlook for home sales and exports has brightened in recent weeks, cooling construction activity still looks set to weigh on growth next year.

24 November 2021

China Economics Update

LPR on hold but wider easing already underway

The Loan Prime Rate (LPR) remained unchanged for the 19th consecutive month today. But officials are already easing policy in other ways, such as by relaxing constraints on mortgage lending. The PBOC has also pushed down bank funding costs via recent deposit rate reforms and July’s RRR cut, paving the way for future moves to nudge down lending rates using LPR cuts.

22 November 2021

More from Gareth Leather

Emerging Asia Economics Weekly

Thailand’s reopening, exports soften

Thailand’s tourism sector will remain heavily depressed despite this week’s reopening of Phuket to foreign tourists. Meanwhile, the latest data provide more evidence that export demand has started to level off.

We are holding a Drop-In online briefing on Tuesday at 1500 HKT/0800 BST to explain our Korean rate outlook, including the latest on the domestic recovery but also how external demand conditions could influence policy thinking. Register here.

2 July 2021

Emerging Asia Chart Book

Virus disruption to continue

The virus situation in Emerging Asia has improved compared with a month ago. Although cases are rising sharply in Indonesia, daily numbers have come down in Taiwan, Singapore, India and Malaysia, and appear to have stabilised in the Philippines. That said, the situation remains serious. The more contagious Delta variant now appears prevalent across the region, which suggests countries will need to be cautious about how quickly they loosen restrictions. And while vaccine rollouts have gathered pace in a number of countries, it is only in Singapore, China, Hong Kong and Cambodia where more than 10% of the population is fully vaccinated. The upshot is that whereas life appears to be returning to normal in the US and most of Europe, COVID-19 will continue to cause significant economic disruption throughout this year across large parts of Emerging Asia.

30 June 2021

Emerging Asia Data Response

Vietnam GDP (Q2)

Looking past the jump in y/y growth due to a weak base for comparison, GDP data suggest that Vietnam is facing a heavy economic toll from its efforts to control the virus. With sporadic outbreaks continuing, the economy is likely to suffer further in the months ahead.

29 June 2021
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