News / Asia

Japanese Quake Has Limited Effect on Southeast Asia Economies

A man runs past Samsung Electronics Co.'s mobile phone Galaxy S advertisement outside its head office in Seoul, South Korea (FILE).
A man runs past Samsung Electronics Co.'s mobile phone Galaxy S advertisement outside its head office in Seoul, South Korea (FILE).
Daniel Schearf

The disaster in Japan is expected to affect economies in Southeast Asia, but economists say the damage is likely to be limited. They say the region may even see increased investments from Japan as companies seek to diversify away from areas at higher risk from natural disasters.

Japan supplies Southeast Asia factories with components and parts put into cars, electronics, and other products for export, including back to Japan.

That supply chain was disrupted when the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan's northeast, damaging a nuclear plant and forcing many factories to stop production.

Many Southeast Asian countries export to Japan. The Japanese market accounts for about 20 percent of Indonesia’s exports and 17 percent of what the Philippines sends abroad, down to smaller amounts from countries including Cambodia, Laos, and Singapore.

Regional economists say exports may suffer this year. But with Japanese damage assessments and the situation at the nuclear plant uncertain, estimates of the cost to trade are tentative.

Tim Condon, the chief Asia economist for ING Financial Markets in Singapore, said a worst-case scenario would be similar to the 2008 global financial crisis, when Japan’s imports dropped by nearly half.

"If the earthquake damage is that severe we could see damage on the order of 0.7 percent of GDP in Indonesia, about half that in the case of Philippines, and then something even lower than that in the rest of the Southeast Asian economies. So, it ranges from a chunky number in the case of Indonesia, to kind of a negligible figure in the others."

Condon said the best-case scenario would be damage similar to the 1995 Kobe earthquake, which cost Japan about 2 percent of its GDP but saw regional trade recover quickly.

The World Bank said this week that earthquake and tsunami reconstruction could cost Japan up to $235 billion and take up to five years.  

But Japan’s economic growth is expected to pick up in the second half of this year as reconstruction gets underway.

Lei Lei Song, a senior economist with the Asian Development Bank, said that barring any major nuclear contamination, Japan's economy should rebound relatively quickly, and along with it, the trade with Southeast Asia.

"We're still assessing the impact in terms of the GDP growth. But, I guess it's very modest.  It would not change the robust growth we are currently expecting for Southeast Asian economies," said Song.

Southeast Asia's economies grew by about 7 percent last year.

Song said Thailand is one of the countries in Southeast Asia most exposed to economic effects from Japan, partly because of its flourishing auto industry. Thailand is referred to as the Detroit of Southeast Asia because major car companies have factories here.

Condon said Thailand’s auto factories could have some short-term problems obtaining parts from Japan, but that the disaster would not seriously hurt the industry.

"My thinking is that it will probably be the reverse," he said. "They will look to diversify their production sites and move things to cheaper and less earthquake-prone destinations."

Thailand also is tied closely to Japan’s economy through debt. More than 60 percent of Thailand’s foreign debt is in Japanese yen and any appreciation raises the costs for paying it back.

Economists say even if the yen appreciates, though, it will not be difficult for Thailand to deal with it because its external debt is not high.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

ILO: Women Still Losing Out in Global Work Place

International Labor Organization says women are marginally better off now than they were 20 years ago More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More