Philippines: Reconciling Short-Circuiting Electronic Exports

The situation for Philippine exports is particularly dire, with the value of exports falling by 20.7% y/y in December 2011 after reaching a two-year low in September amid persistent weakness in external demand for the country’s electronic goods (Figure 1). Export growth contracted for its eight consecutive month, while electronic exports contracted for its eleven […]

Philippines’ Electronics and Automotive Industries Feel the Aftershocks from the Tohoku Earthquake

The Philippines’ export recovery barreled on through 2010 on the back of strong demand for electronics, helping to shrink the trade deficit to US$3.3 billion. Through 2010, electronics remained the top import and export by value, comprising 34.6% of total imports and 59.89% of total exports. The devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck Northeastern Japan […]

RGE’s Wednesday Note – Malaysia’s Middle-Income Malaise

Malaysia’s policy makers have been forced to confront the factors blocking the country’s rise to high-income status. Facing higher labor costs, the economy has been unable to maintain a growth model based on low-value-added manufacturing that was largely successful for the 30 years prior to the 1997 Asian financial crisis. One of the most noticeable manifestations of this so-called middle-income trap has been the secular decline of Malaysia’s once-dominant electronics and electrical products (E&E) sector, examined in “Still Not a Tiger: The Decline of Malaysia’s Electronics Sector,” available exclusively to clients. At the sector’s height in 2000, E&E accounted for more than one-third of the country’s total value added in manufacturing, over 70% of revenue from manufacturing exports and almost 4% of world E&E exports.

Private Investment: A Ray of Sunshine in Rainy Indonesia

After braving an earthquake-induced tsunami and several volcanic eruptions in the past two months, Indonesia now faces heavy rains, which dampened the GDP growth number for Q3. Indonesia’s GDP expanded by an estimated 5.8% y/y in real (non-seasonally adjusted) terms in Q3 2010, far short of Bloomberg’s consensus forecast of 6.35% and just above RGE’s prediction of 5.6%.

Thailand’s GDP Release: Bad English or Intentional Cover-Up?

The Thai government’s PR department released a sanguine report on Thailand’s Q2 GDP data yesterday, glossing over the economic impact of the violent protests that flared up in April and May:

Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of this year has expanded by 9.1%, setting the highest record of half-year figure in 13 years, according to the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB).

Source: “Half-year GDP hits 13-yrs highest“, National News Bureau of Thailand

A look at the data reveals however that real GDP actually contracted in Q2 2010 by 5.6%, not seasonally adjusted. The 9.1% growth reported by the National News Bureau refers to year-over-year growth. By this metric, Thailand’s expansion is really nothing surprising considering GDP rose from a very low base formed after the deepest contraction since the 1997-98 financial crisis. When the bar is set low, it’s quite easy to jump the bar. What’s more striking is, Thailand failed to even meet that bar in some respects:

East Asia’s On/Off Switch

In 2009 and the first half of 2010, low interest rates and an uncertain global outlook led to strong, volatile capital inflows into some of Asia’s most promising economies. Policymakers in these places—which include, among others, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia and India—have searched for the best ways to control the on/off switch, to prevent volatility from undermining their economic growth. We examine this trend in a recent analysis, available to RGE clients, which surveys the measures implemented in each of the countries noted above.

Thailand’s ‘Black May’: 1992 vs. 2010

Thailand has continued its struggle to expand democracy since the absolute monarchy was ousted in a 1932 coup—when Siam became Thailand. Most coups and protests in Thailand have been relatively bloodless compared to the Philippines, where election violence is the norm. But once in a while, the death toll stacks up to heights that terrify Thais. As of May 18, 37 people had died in two months of protests, the bloodiest since the “Black May” protests in May 17-20, 1992, which killed at least 52 according to the official count.

2010 Philippines Elections: Ready, Steady, Go…?

On February 9, 2010, the official 90-day campaign for election in the Philippines will commence.  With current President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo out of the running because of term limits, the race for the Philippine presidency is currently wide open. 

With at least 10 officially registered presidential candidates, the sprint for the presidency will be fast and furious. The presidential pelaton includes: Vetellano Acosta (New Society Movement party), Benigno Cojuangco-Aquino (Liberal), John Carlos de los Reyes (Ang Kapatiran), Richard Gordon (Bagumbayan-VNP), Jamby Madrigal (Independent), Nicanor Perlas (Independent), Gilberto Teodoro (Lakas-Kampi-CMD), Eddie Villanueva (Bagong Pilipinas), Manuel Villar (Nacionalista).  The early breakaway consists of former Philippine Senator Manuel Villar and  Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III who is currently serving in the Philippine Senate. The impeached but now pardoned former President Joseph Estrada, and Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro Jr., former National Secretary of Defense, round out the lead pack.   With a history of weak political parties, personality politics and celebrity usually winnow the field of “Presidentiables.”