Business & Economy

PH, Thailand helped boost Asean’s growth in H1

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The strong showing of the Philippine economy, along with that of Thailand, helped raise the combined gross domestic product (GDP) of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).


Collectively, the Asean’s GDP grew by 5.7 percent in the first half of the year.

The so-called Asean-5, as a sub-group, grew by 5.1 percent from January to June, faster than the 4.9 percent recorded in the previous year.

The Asean-5 is composed of the founding members of the regional grouping—The Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

According to the Jakarta-based Asean Secretariat, the services sector over the last seven years has become a catalyst for regional economic growth, while the agriculture sector has decreased its impact on GDP.

In 2012, the services sector contributed the highest share to GDP among all 10 Asean member-states, ranging from 35 percent to more than 60 percent of GDP.

The other five Asean members are Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Burma (Myanmar) and Vietnam.

In the Philippines, the services sector accounts for 56.9 percent of the economy, second only to 61.8 percent in Singapore.


“The share of the services sector continues to increase considerably in the region,” the secretariat said. “The Asean economies have found their niche in the services sector after deliberately moving away from agriculture over the last five years.”

Last year, Asean economies remained buoyant as aggregate nominal GDP grew by 5.7 percent to reach $2.31 trillion.

The Asean Secretariat cited as a growth indicator the 4.4-percent growth in the region’s GDP per capita, to $3,751 in 2012, from $3,591 in 2011.

GDP per capita, the average income of people in an economy, was $4,339 for the Philippines, lower than the Asean-5 average of $7,010.

The Philippines is classified as an upper middle-income economy, along with Thailand and Indonesia.

Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia are the richest in the region with GDP per capita of $61,461, $55,405, and $16,976, respectively.

In terms of real GDP, regional growth was recorded at 5.7 percent, or almost six times as fast as the one percent recorded in 2011.

The Philippines performed the best among the Asean-5 at 6.8 percent, while Thailand posted 6.5 percent.

However, both figures were slower than the 7.9 percent seen for Laos, and 7 percent for Cambodia.

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