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TRADE AND CURRENT ACCOUNT BALANCE FORECASTS

In addition to their regular forecasts for the major economic variables, twice a year (in February and August) we survey our Asia Pacific Consensus Forecasts panellists for their projections for exports, imports and current account balances for the next 4 years. Our panellists are also asked for their predictions for growth in the volume of goods and service exports and imports over the same period.

Our survey for Trade and Current Account Balances covers each of the countries listed below. For illustrative purposes we have included forecast tables for four countries along with a portion of the text commentary taken from our February 2015 survey below. To view a sample issue of Asia Pacific Consensus Forecasts please click the "Download Sample Issues" button below.


Asia Pacific Consensus Forecasts
Australia New Zealand
China Philippines
Hong Kong Singapore
India South Korea
Indonesia Taiwan
Malaysia Thailand

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Trade and Current Account Balances
  Historical Data Consensus Forecasts
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
AUSTRALIA  
Goods & Services Exports
(fob, A$bn)
314.3 301.8 319.0 326.7 337.0 371.0 409.7 440.9
Goods & Services Imports
(fob, A$bn)
301.7 323.9 329.3 336.6 348.4 369.5 397.8 425.4
Trade Balance
(A$bn)
12.6 -22.1 -10.3 -9.9 -11.4 1.5 11.9 15.5
% of GDP 0.9 -1.5 -0.6 -0.6 -0.7 0.1 0.6 0.8
Current Account Balance
(A$bn)
-42.4 -64.0 -51.5 -50.3 -52.3 -44.2 -35.6 -36.8
% of GDP -2.9 -4.3 -3.3 -3.1 -3.1 -2.4 -1.9 -1.8
CHINA  
Merchandise Exports
(fob, US$bn)
1898.4 2048.7 2209.0 2342.8 2488.9 2647.5 2871.6 3066.8
Merchandise Imports
(fob, US$bn)
1743.5 1818.4 1950.0 1960.3 2043.9 2178.5 2425.5 2636.8
Trade Balance
(US$bn)
154.9 230.3 259.0 382.5 445.0 469.0 446.0 430.1
% of GDP 2.1 2.7 2.7 3.7 4.0 3.7 3.2 2.8
Current Account Balance
(US$bn)
136.1 215.4 182.8 245.2e 302.7 293.2 268.0 248.5
% of GDP 1.9 2.6 1.9 2.4 2.7 2.3 1.9 1.6

e = consensus estimate from latest survey.

Asia's exporters faced a challenging year in 2014 on the back of sluggish global demand. In spite of the recovery in the US economy, other countries in the West, most notably in the Euro zone, remained weak. After a strong start in early 2014, oversea shipments destined for Europe began losing steam toward the end of last year. Asian manufacturers had hoped that demand in Europe would pick up some of the slack arising from a slowing Chinese economy. However, sluggish growth in Europe, together with a weak euro, presented a challenging trading environment for Asian producers. Going forward, the outlook for the Eurozone remains weak and with little dynamism as growth sputters in the largest member countries and deflationary pressures tighten their grip. Furthermore, the euro is likely to continue falling against many Asian currencies, which would increase the cost of Asian exports to Europe. While Asia has been hit by the headwinds arising from lacklustre global demand, the region has nevertheless reaped the benefits of lower international oil prices. Most of the countries are net importers of crude oil and a sharp drop in prices over the past six months has provided a boost to their external accounts and this trend is expected to continue going into this year.


Export and Import Volumes
% change from previous year, constant prices Historical Data Consensus Forecasts
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
MALAYSIA  
Exports, Goods & Services, 2005 prices 4.5 -1.8 0.6 5.4e 4.7 3.5 4.6 4.2
Imports, Goods & Services, 2005 prices 6.2 2.5 2.0 4.1e 6.0 4.2 4.7 4.6
Net Exports, contribution to GDP growth, % -0.9 -4.0 -1.1 1.5 -0.6 -0.3 0.2 -0.1
SOUTH KOREA  
Exports, Goods & Services, chained 2005 prices 15.1 5.1 4.3 2.8e 4.2 6.9 6.9 6.6
Imports, Goods & Services, chained 2005 prices 14.3 2.4 1.6 2.0e 4.1 6.8 6.3 5.8
Net Exports, contribution to GDP growth, % 0.8 1.6 1.6 0.6 0.3 0.6 0.8 0.9

e = consensus estimate from latest survey.

 

The table above shows our panellists’ projections for growth in goods and services exports and imports, measured in real terms (i.e. excluding the effects of changes in trade prices). Unfortunately, we were unable to poll for these forecasts in every country we cover (due mainly to problems with data availability). In each case, we have also calculated estimates of the contribution to growth implied by our panels’ forecasts for changes in export and import volumes, measured as the change in net exports (goods and services exports minus goods and services imports) as a percentage of GDP in the previous year. This indicates whether the external sector is adding to or subtracting from overall GDP growth. Last year saw exports of goods and services rebound sharply by 12.1% in the Philippines after the country reported a 1.1% fall in the prior year. While the South East Asian nation benefited from a 2.7% contribution from net exports, other countries in the region have not fared as well. According to our panel, Indonesia and Thailand are expected to record a drop in both export and import volumes in 2014. The drop in imports in the latter is likely to be particularly pronounced (-4.8%) and most probably reflects the political turmoil endured in 2014, which undermined domestic demand. Going forward, however, Thailand, like the rest of Asia should enjoy a better trade performance as both export and import volumes are set to pick up.

A portion of text from Asia Pacific Consensus Forecasts, February 9, 2015.