The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region saw significant growth in 2023, and will likely remain the fastest-growing this year, an economist said.
"The APAC economic outlook for 2024 is for continued rapid economic expansion, helped by resilient domestic demand in a number of large Asian emerging markets, including mainland China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines," S&P Global Market Intelligence economist Rajiv Biswas said.
"Some upturn in merchandise exports is expected during 2024, after a significant downturn in exports of goods in many Asian industrial nations during 2023, notably due to declining exports of electronics products," he added.
Biswas highlighted that robust growth in consumer markets within major regional economies such as China, India, and Indonesia would play a key role in boosting intra-APAC trade for raw materials, intermediate goods, and final products.
Steady economic growth, he added, is rapidly increasing per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in many of Asia's major emerging markets, driving demand for various goods and services.
"An important medium-term strength for many APAC industrial economies is their global competitiveness in the electronics manufacturing supply chain," Biswas noted.
Electronics production was said to be an important part of the manufacturing export sector for many economies including South Korea, China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Biswas also said that the prospects for Asian electronics manufacturing were positive, citing 5G expansions that would drive demand for mobile phones and the increasing need for electronics with artificial intelligence features.
The growth of industrial electronics is also anticipated to accelerate, supported by Industry 4.0, which involves industrial automation and the rapid expansion of the Internet of Things, leading to increased demand for industrial electronics.
As international tourism rebounds from the impact of Covid-19, meanwhile, Biswas suggested that this would become a significant growth factor for APAC exports in the medium term.
Expectations include robust growth in international tourism to the region, supported by increasing incomes of households in major Asian economies such as China, India and Indonesia.
The fast-paced expansion of APAC exports is also seen to receive added support from trade liberalization efforts.
This involves agreements like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, along with an increasing number of bilateral free trade agreements.
"Overall, the medium-term economic outlook for the APAC region remains positive," Biswas said.
"APAC is already the largest region of the global economy measured in terms of size of nominal GDP, with emerging Asia expected to continue to grow rapidly over the decade ahead," he added.
Source: Manila Times