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Travel troubles, virus surge prompts forecast cuts

Delays to the Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble will have no direct implications for either economy, but the problems in getting the scheme off the ground demonstrate how difficult it is proving to revive international travel across the region. Meanwhile, we published our Q2 Economic Outlook this week. With virus cases surging in South Asia and parts of South East Asia (most notably the Philippines and Thailand), we have cut our GDP growth forecasts for a number of countries for this year.
Gareth Leather Senior Asia Economist
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Emerging Asia Data Response

Singapore GDP (Q1, revised)

The decent upwards revision to Q1 GDP data reveals that the economy gained more momentum at the end of the quarter, a trend which is likely to carry on throughout Q2. Asia Drop-In (26th May, 0900 BST/16:00 SGT): Can Asia remain the low inflation exception? Join our 20-minute briefing about the region’s price and policy outlooks. Register here.

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Bank Indonesia left interest rates unchanged today and the dovish tone from the press conference suggests the central bank is in no rush to tighten policy. We are maintaining our view the central bank will raise interest rates by just 25bps this year. Asia Drop-In (26th May, 0900 BST/16:00 SGT): Can Asia remain the low inflation exception? Join our 20-minute briefing about the region’s price and policy outlooks. Register here.

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Emerging Asia Economics Update

Pakistan: Further tightening needed, as IMF talks begin

High inflation and the fall in the currency were the two key factors behind the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) decision to raise interest rates by a further 150bp today. More tightening looks inevitable, and much will depend on whether the government can agree terms with the IMF over the resumption of its US$6bn loan programme. Asia Drop-In (26th May, 0900 BST/16:00 SGT): Can Asia remain the low inflation exception? Join our 20-minute briefing about the region’s price and policy outlooks. Register here.

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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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