Economic growth across South-East Asia (SEA) region is expected to moderate to 4.8% this year, from 5.3% in 2018, amid slowing global trade and escalating US-China trade tensions, according to ICAEW’s latest report.

It said, domestic demand should provide some relief, together with accommodative macro policies, although this may vary across economies. Overall GDP growth across the region slowed to 4.6% in first quarter (Q1) 2019, down from 5.3% recorded in second half (H2) of 2018.

This is a result of the slump in export growth across SEA economies due to weaker Chinese import demand, a slowdown in the global ICT cycle, and an increase in trade protectionism over the past year. Total export volumes were, on average, 1% lower than a year ago in Q1 2018, with uncertainties over external demand also likely to have weighed on firms’ production and investment intentions in the quarter.