Economic growth across the Southeast Asia (SEA) region is expected moderate to 4.5% in 2019 and stabilize at the same level in 2020, from 5.1% in 2018, amid another round of tariffs and trade restrictions by the United States (US) and China, according to ICAEW’ latest reports.

Accommodative macro policies, coupled with domestic-driven activities, are expected to cushion the weaker trade outlook, although this will vary across economies. Overall economic growth across the region in the first half (1H) of 2019 slowed to 4% compared to 4.5% in 2H 2018.

This is the result of spillovers from the US-China trade war, slower Chinese domestic demand and a downturn in the global electronics cycle. Slower export momentum weighed heavily on the growth of trade dependent economies such as Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. While, Malaysia and Vietnam have outperformed the region, reflecting a more modest deceleration in export growth and resilient domestic demand.