ASEAN Bloc Set for 6% Economic Growth Rebound in 2021

Real gross domestic product (GDP) of the ASEAN economies is set to rebound with 6-percent growth this year, thanks to receding coronavirus cases, increased vaccination rates, higher government spending, and easing of monetary policies, data and analytics company GlobalData said on 15 February. 

Economies in the ASEAN bloc are forecast to post a sharp V-shaped recovery in 2021, following the contraction in 2020. The six largest ASEAN nations –Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam – are all expected to see their real GDP grow in 2021, according to GlobalData.

Singapore’s economy is set to grow by 5.8 percent this year, thanks to trade expansion and gradual recovery of the tourism and construction sectors. Malaysia’s GDP is expected to rise by 7.1 percent in 2021, compared to a contraction of 5.2 percent in 2020. Vietnam will be the fastest-growing economy in the ASEAN region this year, with real GDP growth projected at 8.5 percent, GlobalData reckons.

Vietnam’s growing trade with the EU and its robust fiscal policies have already helped the economy to witness an uptick in manufacturing and service sectors growth in recent months, the analytics company noted.

“Due to the implementation of non-tariff measures on essential goods among the ASEAN nations, trade is expected to increase in 2021. Trade windows are set to open for ASEAN nations with the signing of Regional Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (RCEP) in November 2020, which will further spur economic integration,” said Gargi Rao, Economic Research Analyst at GlobalData.

“Increasing investment and recognizing open trade are key to put ASEAN economies on a steady growth path, along with effective vaccination for COVID-19 in 2021. An uptick in retail trade and growing demand for e-commerce will bring in new capital to spur growth. The new free trade agreements among ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand will bring in new trade and employment opportunities for 2021 and beyond,” Rao noted.