CARI Captures Issue 571: Five Southeast Asian countries among global top ten for e-commerce sales growth in 2022

Five Southeast Asian countries among global top ten for e-commerce sales growth in 2022

(15 September 2022) Five ASEAN countries are among the global top ten for e-commerce sales growth in 2022, according to data by eMarketer. These top ten countries include Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. The Philippines topped the chart at 25.9% growth year-on-year, while Indonesia came second at 23%. eMarketer predicted the entire region’s 2022 ecommerce sales growth year-on-year at 20.6%, the highest in the world, totaling US$89.67 billion. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a shift in consumer behavior with regards to e-commerce, with a recent report from Google, Temasek and Bain & Company predicting that as many as 40 million people in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, The Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand became new internet users in 2020. While most residents in Southeast Asia lack computers, almost all of them have mobile devices and thus internet access.

Thai government expects a 22% drop in investment pledges in 2022

(12 September 2022) The Thai government is expecting a 22% drop in investment pledges in 2022 to US$13.76 billion, after a first-half slump. Nevertheless, the government hopes that its measures to promote investment, including a long-term resident visa launched in September, will draw more foreign investors later in 2022. Among the areas which the country hopes to attract investments into include high-tech sectors. The Thai government has supported electric vehicles to maintain its status as a regional auto production base. For the January to June period of 2022, Thai and foreign investment pledges slumped 42% to about 220 billion baht, due mainly to a large power plant project in 2021. Foreign investments, which made up 60% of the overall applications in the January-June period, more than halved year-on-year.

JP Morgan is optimistic that Malaysia will be able to meet the annual GDP growth of 7.7% in 2022

(15 September 2022) JP Morgan is optimistic that Malaysia will be able to meet the annual GDP growth of 7.7% in 2022, which would make it one of the highest in the region. It was noted that Malaysia remains resilient, with a strong banking sector, supportive government policies and prudent corporate citizens. JP Morgan stated they were ‘bullish’ about Malaysia’s electrical and electronic industry, with the country currently supplying 10% of the semiconductor components globally. Furthermore, she said the country has managed to attract the highest foreign direct investment in the last six years, totalling US$1.9 billion into the country as of August 2022. Previously, Malaysia’s Finance Minister stated that the country’s economic growth may surpass the official estimates of between 5.3% and 6.3% in 2022, attributing this to rapid growth in the second quarter of 2022 at 8.9% and expected improved performance in the third quarter.

Non-oil domestic exports grow by 11.4% year-on-year in August 2022

(16 September 2022) Non-oil domestic exports grew by 11.4% year-on-year in August 2022, following 7% growth in July. According to data by Enterprise Singapore, non-electronics exports grew while electronics exports decreased from a high base a year ago. While exports to the top ten markets as a whole rose in August 2022, including to the US, the EU and Indonesia, exports to China, Taiwan and Hong Kong declined. On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, non-oil domestic exports decreased by 3.9% in August, following the previous month’s 1.4% growth. Total trade grew by 26% year-on-year in August, following the expansion of 30.5% in July. Total exports rose by 21.8% while total imports grew by 30.9%.

Indonesia records a US$5.76 billion trade surplus in August 2022, largest in four months

(15 September 2022) Indonesia recorded a US$5.76 billion trade surplus in August 2022, the largest in four months. The resource-rich country has reported a trade surplus every month since May 2020, with exports boosted by high commodity prices. The surplus in August 2022 was the largest since April’s US$7.56 billion, which was the biggest on record for Indonesia. Exports rose 30.15% on a yearly basis in August to US$27.91 billion, with shipments of oil and gas and mineral products recording the biggest increase. Meanwhile, imports measured at US$22.15 billion, up 32.81% on a yearly basis. Analysts have warned that Indonesia’s trade surplus would narrow near the end of the year, as prices of certain commodities such as palm oil and iron ore start to ease. For the period of January to August 2022, it is predicted that Indonesia would record a current account balance within a range of 0% to 0.45% of GDP in 2022.

Filipino electronics exporters expect sales to grow by 10% in 2022 due to peso’s weakness

(14 September 2022) Philippines electronics exporters expect sales to grow by 10% in 2022, due in part to a weak peso which will attract buyers (including holiday shoppers). Historically, there is a catch up that happens near the end of the year, as people buy electronics as gifts. The Philippines has registered a recent decline in electronics shipments, its largest export. Sales grew 2% from January to July. The industry group Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc. aims to grow the electronics sector’s revenue by 5% to 6% and produce higher-value products in the coming years. It is believed the previous government’s move to scrap tax incentives could put the industry’s growth target and jobs in peril, with US$3.2 billion worth of investments having already been diverted to other countries.

Brunei Darussalam records 62.5% year-on-year increase in total trade in June 2022
(13 September 2022) Brunei Darussalam recorded a 62.5% increase year-on-year in total trade in June 2022. According to the latest data by the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics at the Ministry of Finance and Economy, Brunei Darussalam’’s exports increased by 61.1% yearly, which was mainly due to the increase in mineral fuel exports. Mineral fuels also recorded the highest contribution to total exports at 76.2%, followed by chemicals at 21.3%. Imports increased by 64.3% year on year for June 2022. The highest share of exports in June 2022 went to Malaysia at 30.7%, followed by Australia at 14.4% and Singapore at 12.6%. The highest share of imports came from Malaysia at 23.7%, followed by the United Arab Emirates at 22.9% and Iraq at 10.1%.

RCEP Monitor

Unemployment rate falls to record low in August 2022, while employed persons increased for 18th straight month

(16th September 2022) The unemployment rate in South Korea fell to a record low in August 2022, while the number of employed persons increased for the 18th straight month. According to government data, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August fell to 2.5% from 2.9% in July, hitting the lowest since the data release began in June 1999. The number of employed people increased by 807,000 year-on-year, extending annual gains to an 18th consecutive month. Employment growth is expected to slow going forward due to worsening external conditions as well as weaker consumption due to high inflation and interest rate hikes. The increase in employment numbers was driven by the manufacturing sector, which added 240,000 employees, followed by health and social welfare services’ 123,000 and agriculture and fisheries’ 9,000.

Yuan falls below key level against the US Dollar for the first time since July 2020
(15 September 2022) China’ s yuan has fallen below a key level against the US Dollar for the first time since July 2020, breaking 7 yuan for a dollar. The offshore yuan has fallen more than 9% against the US Dollar in 2022, amid a slide of global currencies against the dollar due to aggressive and ongoing monetary tightening by the US Federal Reserve. The yuan is expected to weaken further as China’s economic conditions continue to deteriorate, largely due to difficulties Chinese authorities are facing in containing COVID-19 outbreaks in the summer. China’s economy grew by 0.4% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2022, the slowest growth rate in more than two years. While a weaker yuan may help Chinese exports, much of that benefit is being wiped out by high inflation in China’s major import markets. The latest data is showing that exports from China are starting to weaken.

New Zealand’s economy rebounds in second quarter of 2022 due to return of tourists

(16 September 2022) New Zealand’s economy rebounded sharply in the second quarter of 2022, due in part to a loosening of COVID-19 restrictions as well as returning tourists. Official data showed that GDP expanded by 1.7% in the June quarter, beating forecasts of a 1% gain and providing a timely recovery from the first quarter’s 0.2% drop. Annual growth slowed to just 0.4%. In response to soaring cost pressures, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) lifted interest rates by an eye-watering 275 basis points to 3%, and believes it will have to get to at least 4% to slow demand enough to contain inflation. Consumer price inflation hit a three-decade peak of 7.3% in the June quarter. While petrol prices have dropped somewhat in the last couple of months, food prices remain elevated due to poor growing conditions and rising production costs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *