Asia-Pacific

Emerging Asia

Korea Trade (1st – 20th Oct.)

Korean export values continue to climb in October driven by both rising prices and growth in underlying volumes. The strength of the external sector adds weight to our view that the economy will expand faster, and the central bank will tighten more quickly, than most analysts expect.

21 October 2021

Interest rates and inflation to remain low

Growth in China will weaken further over the coming year as a downturn deepens in industry and construction. The outlook for the rest of the region is improving. We expect many economies to rebound strongly as governments ease restrictions on the back of faster vaccine rollouts and success reining in COVID outbreaks. Central banks – unlike in much of the emerging world – are in little rush to tighten. Inflation hasn’t emerged as a concern and, with large output gaps set to keep a lid on price pressures, we expect policy rates in most countries to remain on hold over the coming year. In contrast, the consensus and financial markets are expecting central banks to begin tightening in 2022.

20 October 2021

Strength of export orders signals shortages will persist

Taiwan export orders rose in September, indicating that demand for Asian electronics remains strong. We expect final demand to weaken over the coming months, but shortages are likely to persist for some time to come.

20 October 2021
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Bank Indonesia will be in no rush to tighten next year

Bank Indonesia today left its policy rate unchanged at 3.5% and signalled that it is likely to leave rates on hold for a prolonged period of time. With the economy rebounding but inflation set to stay low, we think interest rates will be left on hold until the end of next year.

Supply shortages take their toll

The supply shortages that have affected many DMs have also intensified in emerging economies over the past couple of months. The automotive sector has been hit hard by global semiconductor shortages, weighing on recoveries in Mexico, Czechia and Hungary in particular. More broadly, EM manufacturers are struggling to meet new orders, causing backlog of works to increase. Meanwhile, recent power shortages have weighed on recoveries in China, India and Brazil. As shortages continue, they are likely to not just weigh on growth, but also add to upward pressure to core inflation. That will probably keep central banks in Latin America and Central Europe in particular in tightening mode.

Lower valuations may not help EM equities outperform

We don’t think the low valuations of emerging market (EM) equity indices relative to those of developed markets (DMs) is reason to expect EM equities to outperform over the next couple of years.

Car woes to weigh on recoveries in Mexico & CEE

The supply constraints that have hit global vehicle output have probably reduced the level of GDP by a modest 0.1-0.2% in most EM auto producers, but some countries like Czechia, Hungary and Mexico have suffered much bigger blows. And the drag from vehicle production is likely to persist for some time yet.

Asia reopens, more hikes in Korea & Sri Lanka

Countries across Emerging Asia are making renewed efforts to reopen their borders to boost flagging tourism sectors. However, the recovery is likely to be very gradual, not least because China (which was the source of around one-third of all tourists to the region before the pandemic) is in no rush to reopen its border. The poor prospects for tourism will weigh heavily on the Thai baht over the coming year and lead to further balance of payments strains in Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, the central banks of Korea and Sri Lanka left interest rates unchanged at their scheduled meetings this week, but we think it won’t be long before both raise interest rates again

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