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Trade war hits SE Asia, growth down for first time in 3 years

US-China dispute weighs on Singapore and Thailand economies in 2019

Southeast Asia faced several headwinds in 2018, including escalating U.S.-China trade tensions and weakening local currencies.   © Reuters

SINGAPORE -- Southeast Asia's growth rate declined in 2018, falling for the first time in three years, as some countries were hit by external and domestic headwinds that could continue to weigh on the region this year.

According to data compiled on Feb. 18 by the Asian Development Bank, gross domestic product for the region's five major economies -- a weighted average for Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand -- expanded 4.8% in 2018. The growth rate for 2017 was 5.1%, following 4.6% in 2016.

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