Emerging Asia

Philippines

EM supply constraints mount

Although the emerging market manufacturing PMI ticked up last month, EM industry has been undergoing a slowdown for some time. And the surveys show that supply constraints are mounting, which is likely to weigh on manufacturers’ output in the months ahead.

1 October 2021

PacMan joins the race, baht set for further falls

The next presidential election in the Philippines is not until May, but the contest is already generating plenty of headlines with former boxing world champion Manny Pacquiao (PacMan to his fans) this week announcing his intention to run. He is joined by several other presidential hopefuls, including a former actor and two children of former presidents. We will have more to say once the candidates outline their policy platforms, but the uninspiring list of presidential hopefuls bodes poorly for the country’s prospects. Meanwhile, policymakers in Thailand appear unfazed by the recent decline in the baht, which fell by over 4% against the US dollar last month. We think further weakness is likely over the coming year.

1 October 2021

Manufacturing PMIs (Sep.)

While regional PMIs showed that the disruption from large virus waves in the region is easing somewhat, unmet orders continue to pile up, meaning that the resulting shortages further down supply chains are set to remain for some time to come.

1 October 2021
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Asian central banks in little rush to raise rates

Over the past month or so, the central banks of Korea, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have all raised interest rates, but we don’t think other countries will be in any rush to follow suit. There is certainly little to worry about on the inflation front. Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka are the only three countries where headline inflation is above 5% y/y. With GDP still well below potential in most parts of the region, underlying price pressures will remain subdued. Similarly, with the exception of Sri Lanka and Pakistan, where large current account deficits are putting downward pressure on currencies, external factors are unlikely to prompt central banks into hiking rates. Although the US Fed is likely to announce plans to taper its asset purchases later this year, large current account surpluses mean Asian economies are well placed to withstand any sudden shift in capital flows that tighter monetary policy in the US could trigger. Meanwhile, unlike in Korea, there is no sign elsewhere in Asia that low interest rates are fuelling a rise in financial risks. Credit growth has slowed in many countries, with policymakers in Indonesia and the Philippines encouraging commercial banks to lend more. Finally, most countries still have large output gaps, and with the virus continuing to cause significant economic disruption across the region, central banks will remain keen to support economic activity.

Have emerging markets vanquished inflation?

Low inflation is here to stay in much of the emerging world. However, there is a significant risk that inflation rises, albeit moderately, over the medium term in several countries. This risk isn’t limited to the usual suspects like Turkey and Argentina. But it also includes other major emerging economies such as Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines, Colombia and, to a lesser extent, Mexico and India.

Philippines: hikes a long way off

The fact that the central bank in the Philippines (BSP) left its main policy rate on hold at 2.00% today, despite the very weak state of the economy, suggests further easing is unlikely. While we are now taking out the cuts we had pencilled into our forecast for this year, we think rate hikes are unlikely until 2023.

We think China’s equities will continue to struggle

Even if the current concerns around Evergrande abate, we think China’s stock market will continue to underperform many of those elsewhere over the next couple of years.

Drop-In: Evergrande – What are the risks to China and the world? Chief Asia Economist Mark Williams and Senior China Economist Julian Evans-Pritchard will be joined by Senior Markets Economist Oliver Jones to take your questions about the Evergrande situation. They’ll be covering the implications of collapse for China’s financial system and growth outlook, and assessing the global markets fallout. Register here for the 0900 BST/1600 HKT session on Thursday, 23rd September.

Two non-consensus calls on monetary policy

There are four major monetary policy meetings scheduled in the region next week. While we expect the central banks of Indonesia and Taiwan to leave rates unchanged, we are pencilling in a hike by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and a cut by Bangko Sentral Philipinas (BSP).

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