Home » Breaking News, Customs & Trade » ASEAN still robust as services drive growth

Economies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations remained buoyant in 2012, with regional growth fueled by the services sector, according to the latest figures from ASEAN.

Gross domestic product (GDP) growth in ASEAN in 2012 was 5.7 percent to reach US$2.31 trillion, up from 4.7 percent recorded in 2011.

The continued growth of the region is reflected in the improved GDP per capita of US$3,751 in 2012 from US$3,591 in 2011.

The services sector has continued to contribute the largest share to GDP in all 10 ASEAN member-states, ranging from 35 percent to more than 60 percent of GDP. It is followed by the industry sector.

In contrast, the agriculture sector has been seeing a decline in share over the last seven years, the report titled “ASEAN GDP Growth, Backed by Services,” noted.

The ASEAN-5 (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand) accounted for the lion’s share of the regional GDP aggregate at US$2.1 trillion. The sub-group’s growth is driven by favorable economic developments in the Philippines and Thailand.

Expanding by 5.8 percent last year, the ASEAN-5 outpaced the BCLMV (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam) country group, whose total GDP rose by 5.3 percent for the same period.

For the first semester of 2013, recent figures show that average income in the ASEAN-5 has increased by 5.1 percent, higher than the 4.9 percent posted for the same period last year.

Generally, the GDP of the 10 individual ASEAN member-states has increased from 2005 to 2012, except in 2009 when most member-states suffered economic setbacks as a result of the global financial turmoil in 2008.

The figures also indicate a growing middle-class group. “In terms of comparable international exchange rate, the purchasing power parity, ASEAN’s GDP has expanded from PPP$2.19 trillion in 2005 to PPP$3.62 trillion in 2012,” the report said.

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