Trade War Divides Southeast Asia, Belt & Road Fears Unite It

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Most Southeast Asian experts are upbeat about the direction of the region’s economy, but many are wary of global trade agreements and divided on the consequences of the U.S.-China trade war, a new survey has found.

A poll of more than 1,000 experts, analysts and business leaders found that more than 55 per cent believed Southeast Asia would experience moderate or strong growth in 2019. The first State of Southeast Asia: 2019 Report – by the Singapore-based Asean Studies Centre at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute – found only about 20 per cent of respondents anticipated an economic downturn, with the pessimism most pronounced in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

The authors of the report called the mostly positive outlook “somewhat surprising” given the disruption caused by the U.S.-China rivalry.

Termsak Chalermpalanupap, a lead researcher at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, said the bullish forecast could be attributed in part to growing Asian trade driven by China.

Read more at SCMP