Trade in Asia-Pacific declines for the first time since 2009

KUALA LUMPUR,  Trade in the Asia-Pacific region has declined in terms of value and volume for the first time since the 2009 global economic crisis.

According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), total export volume fell by 2.5 per cent this year, while import volume decreased by 3.5 per cent.

Oil exporting economies such as Iran, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and China registered some of the largest declines in export volume, it said.

“Merchandise trade in the region also faced strong headwinds in 2018-2019 caused by the worldwide economic growth slowdown and heightened trade tensions.

“These have had an adverse effect on trade, particularly in the case of economies closely integrated with China through Global Value Chains (GVCs),” said ESCAP in its trade brief reports released today.

Going forward, ESCAP said Asia-Pacific economies might see positive trade growth in 2020 but would still face downside risks from the adverse impacts of the United States (US)-China trade tensions.

It said the new guarantees under the “phase one” trade deal between China and the US might boost investor and consumer confidence, enough for trade in the region to grow by about 1.5 per cent in 2020.

“This growth would be felt more in developing economies, which could see a 1.9 per cent and 2.7 per cent growth in exports and imports, respectively, in 2020.

“However, country-level forecasts vary widely and uncertainties are high,” it added.

 

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)