CARI Captures Issue 564: President Jokowi visits China, Japan and South Korea
President Jokowi visits China, Japan and South Korea
(26 July 2022) President Joko Widodo embarked on a three-day visit to Northeast Asia this week ahead of the G20 leader’s summit to be held in Bali in November. The president started his tour in Beijing where he met President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. China pledged to import another one million tonnes of crude palm oil and prioritise agricultural imports from Indonesia during the meeting. He then visited Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, where the latter agreed to provide US$318.25 million in infrastructure and disaster prevention loans to Indonesia. In Seoul, he met President Yoon suk-yeol and Korean business leaders.
Mitsubishi and Toyota to expand production in Indonesia
(26 July 2022) Mitsubishi Motors Corp will invest some US$666.9 million in the next three years to produce hybrid and battery electric vehicles, as well as increase its export capacity from Indonesia from 42,000 units in 2021 to 72,000 units in 2022 and 98,000 units in 2024. Separately, Toyota Motor Corp says that it will invest US$1.8 billion in the country in the next five years to produce hybrid electric vehicles. Indonesia hopes to transition fully to electric vehicles by 2050, and have 2.2 million electric cars and 13 million electric motorcycles on its roads by 2030.
Singapore’s core inflation is at its highest since November 2008
(25 July 2022) Singapore’s core inflation rose by 4.4% year-on-year in June, up from a 13-year high of 3.6% recorded in May, bringing core inflation to its highest in almost 14 years when it came in at 5.5%. Overall inflation or the headline consumer price index rose by 6.7% year-on-year in June, up from 5.6% in May. This was similarly reflected across all sectors — food inflation came in at 5.4%, retail and other goods at 3.1%, electricity and gas prices at 20%, services inflation at 3.4%, accommodation inflation at 4.2%, and private transport at 21.9%. The government expects core inflation to reach between 4-4.5% in the third quarter before easing to 3.5-4% in the fourth quarter.
Central bank expects a low inflation rate in 2022
(24 July 2022) Brunei’s central bank expects inflation to remain low at between 2-3% this year despite global inflation and Singapore’s monetary policy tightening. Brunei’s monetary system is underpinned by the Currency Interchangeability Agreement that it has with Singapore and the Brunei dollar is pegged to the Singapore dollar. Inflation in Brunei averaged 1.2% between 1981-2018, though it rose by 3.8% year-on-year in March 2022 due to higher food import prices. Meanwhile, assets in the financial sector grew by 7.9% year-on-year to US$17.2 billion, with deposit-taking institutions accounting for 92% of total assets.
Central bank says growth might exceed 3% in 2Q22
(23 July 2022) Thailand’s central bank believes that economic growth could surpass 3% in the second quarter of 2022 on the back of steady recovery and domestic consumption. The country’s private consumption index expanded 2.9% year-on-year in the first quarter and could surge to 9.9% year-on-year in the second quarter. Non-farm income is expected to grow by 10.3% in the second quarter, while farm income is expected to grow by 16.7% during the period. Thailand expects to receive at least six million international tourists this year, with every additional one million tourists contributing to the GDP by 0.4%. Annual growth is expected to reach 3.3% in 2022.
Bilateral trade was up 20.6% in 1H22
(26 July 2022) Trade between Vietnam and Laos rose by 20.6% year-on-year to US$824 million in the first six months of 2022. Of the sum, Vietnam’s imports from Laos grew by 45.4% to US$514.6 million, though its exports to Laos fell by 6% to US$309.4 million. Vietnam’s top export product to Laos—petrol—was up by 254.7%, accounting for US$30.2 million of the sum. Its exports of fruits and vegetables were also up by 78.1%, accounting for US$22.4 million. Bilateral trade in June alone totalled US$134 million and the uptrend is expected to continue following the Lao government’s recent approval of a credit package to import 200 million litres of fuel.
Internet subscribers surge to 17.7 million
(27 July 2022) The number of mobile and fixed broadband internet subscribers in Cambodia rose from 16.1 million in 2019 before the pandemic to 17.7 million as of March 2022, according to a report from the country’s telecommunications regulator. However, the number of mobile phone subscribers dipped by half a million in the past year to 19.4 million. Cambodia’s e-commerce market also grew 19% on the year to US$970 million, up from US$813 million in 2021. Meanwhile, its total number of mobile payment users grew 42% to 13.6 million from 9.56 million in 2020.
Australia’s inflation rate reaches 6.1% in June
(27 July 2022) Australian inflation rose further in the second quarter, coming in at 6.1% in the year through June, up from 5.1% in the quarter through March — its fastest annual increase since 2001. Transportation prices increased by 13.1% as petrol prices also rose for the fourth quarter in a row fuelled by the Russia-Ukraine war, while vegetable and fruit prices increased by nearly 6%. Analysts say that the central bank will likely respond by raising interest rates again. Meanwhile, inflation in neighbouring New Zealand reached a 32-year high as it rose by 7.3% in the June quarter.
South Korea emerges as the world’s fastest-growing arms exporter
(24 July 2022) South Korea’s arms exports rose by 177% during the 2017-2021 period compared to the 2012-2016 period, making it the fastest-growing arms exporter in the world according to a report by the Export-Import Bank of Korea. The country is now the eighth largest arms exporter globally and the second largest player in Asia after China. Its share of global arms exports also grew threefold from 1% to 2.8%, with exports expected to reach US$10 billion in 2022. The Philippines and Indonesia are its two biggest buyers, accounting for 16% and 14% of sales respectively.
China Belt and Road spending dips in 1H22
(26 July 2022) China’s investment in Belt and Road countries fell to US$28.4 billion in the first half of the year from the US$29.6 billion recorded the previous year, according to research published by the Shanghai-based Green Finance and Development Center, bringing total cumulative investment to US$932 billion since the initiative was launched in 2013. The report also noted that there were no new investments in Russia, Egypt and Sri Lanka, as well as no new investments in coal projects ever since China pledged to stop funding coal projects overseas at the United Nations in September 2021.