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The economic growth report card of the six ASEAN countries, a diverse and dynamic region, has been revealed for the first quarter of 2023. At this point, let's take a look at the rankings of these countries and the economic stories behind them.
First up is the Philippines, a country with beautiful beaches and abundant natural resources, with a GDP growth rate of 6.4% in the first quarter of 2023. However, this achievement has not been smooth, and high inflation has had a negative impact on Philippine consumption for the past two years. Household consumption, the Philippines' main economic driver, grew just 6.3 percent in the first quarter, down from a 10 percent increase last year. Philippine Secretary of National Economic Development Asenio Balisakan said high inflation had played a role in slowing economic growth as rising prices led to less demand. However, he also said that despite the risks and challenges, the economic outlook for the Philippines remains solid. The Philippine President's Council of Economic Advisers expects GDP growth to be around 6-7% in 2023.
Next is Malaysia, where GDP grew by 5.6% in the first quarter of 2023. This achievement is mainly driven by domestic demand, and private consumption has always played a central role. Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Norsam Xia Mohd Yunus said that despite certain risks, the growth in domestic demand will support Malaysia's economic growth in 2023. However, she also pointed to weak global growth that could lead to a decline in exports and more volatility in global financial markets as potential risk factors. Therefore, despite the uncertain international situation, Bank Negara Malaysia maintains its forecast for economic growth in the range of 4%-5% in 2023.
Indonesia's GDP growth rate in the first quarter of 2023 was 5.03%, up from 5.01% in the fourth quarter of 2022 and 5.02% in the same period last year. Bank Indonesia Governor Perry Warjiyo said that despite some uncertainties at home and abroad, the central bank predicts Indonesia's growth rate to decline to 4.5%-5.3% in 2023.
Vietnam's GDP growth in the first quarter of 2023 was 3.32% year-on-year. Agriculture, forestry and fishery increased by 2.52%, contributing 8.85% to the overall growth; While the industrial and construction sectors fell by 0.4% and the services sector increased by 6.79%. This data shows the structural characteristics of Vietnam's economy, with the service sector dominating, accounting for 43.65%. Despite the relatively low growth rate, Vietnam continues to grow and develop.
Thailand's GDP grew by 2.7% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023. Thailand's economy is mainly driven by strong growth in service exports and private consumption, as well as the continued expansion of public and private investment. However, Thailand's commodity exports and government spending have contracted, which is a concern.
Finally, let's take a look at Singapore, a country whose GDP grew by only 0.1% in the first quarter of 2023. The decline in manufacturing became a drag on economic growth, especially due to reduced demand from major trading partners such as China and Europe. Singapore's tourism and aviation industries have benefited from the reopening of the region, but manufacturing remains challenging. Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) forecasts slower economic growth this year, with growth expected to be between 0.5% and 2.5%.
Overall, the Philippines topped the list with a GDP growth rate of 6.4% in the first quarter of 2023, followed by Malaysia, Indonesia in third place, and Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore in second place. These figures reflect the economic characteristics and challenges of the six ASEAN countries, as well as their achievements in an uncertain global economic environment.
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