Political risk in Thailand and inflation concerns in Indonesia contributed to a fall in the FTCR Asean Economic Sentiment Index to 59.3 in the second quarter, from 61.9 in the first. Those worries and a dip in confidence in the Philippines were enough to override small gains in Malaysia and Vietnam, leaving the region's overall economic outlook for the next six months less rosy than it was at the start of the year.
- Our economic sentiment sub-index for Indonesia fell to 71.8 from 76.3 in the first quarter, a significant decline, although the index still reflects strong confidence in the economy (readings above 50 indicate optimism). While exports have rallied on improving commodity prices, FTCR's latest consumer indices show concern about slowing wage growth and rising inflation.
- Malaysia's economic sentiment index climbed to 34.1 from 29, the second consecutive quarterly increase. Exports have increased for seven straight months and GDP is expected to continue accelerating. Nevertheless, Malaysia's reading remains much lower than those of the other Asean-5 countries.
- Thailand's sub-index fell to 45.7 from 50.8, dropping below 50 for the first time since the military coup of 2014. Political risk continues to dampen the economic outlook and Thai consumers reported weaker discretionary spending and household income growth than in the previous quarter.
- Respondents in the Philippines were slightly less optimistic, as their sub-index fell 1.8 points to 55.9.
- In Vietnam, the economic sentiment index ticked downwards by 0.8 points to 63.9.
The FTCR Asean Economic Sentiment survey is based on interviews with 5,000 consumers in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
This article was first published on July 6 by FT Confidential Research.
FT Confidential Research is an independent research service from the Financial Times, providing in-depth analysis of and statistical insight into China and Southeast Asia. A team of researchers in these key markets combine findings from proprietary surveys with on-the-ground research to provide predictive analysis for investors.