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Asian Manufacturing to Improve in 2015

A persistently mixed economic outlook awaits the broad Asian economy through the remainder of this year and 2015, according to a report from the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation.

The Asian Manufacturing Outlook provides forecasts for Japan, South Korea and a group identified as “Developing Asia” (China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand).

Policy-generated improvements in Japanese economic activity, an investment-led though modest recovery in South Korea and India’s perceived positive political turn are creating the highest level of regional optimism since 2011. Slowing of Chinese economic activity contributes to the uncertainty.

MAPI forecasts a modest acceleration of GDP growth in Japan, from the 1.5 percent in 2013 to 1.7 percent in both 2014 and 2015. Japan’s industrial output, which contracted by 0.6 percent in 2013, is anticipated to accelerate to 4.4 percent growth in 2014 and 3.2 percent in 2015.

The South Korean economy is expected to advance from 3 percent growth in 2013 to 3.6 percent in 2014 and 3.7 percent in 2015. Industrial production will gain momentum as well, accelerating from 1 percent growth during 2013 to 4 percent in 2014 and 4.5 percent in 2015.

 “As China confronts uneven world demand as well as financial, demographic, currency, and policy transitions, forecasters expect continued slowing,” say senior economist Cliff Waldman and economist Yingying Xu, co-authors of the report.

An overall mix of positive and negative forces in developing Asia is reflected in the forecast. GDP growth is predicted to decelerate from 6.8 percent in 2013 to 6.6 percent in 2014 before rebounding to 6.8 percent in 2015. This grouping’s industrial production growth is anticipated to advance from 7.5 percent in 2013 to 7.8 percent in 2014 and 7.9 percent in 2015.

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