The last shall be first: Asia’s growth prospects for 2015



Asia will once again be the engine of global GDP growth in 2015, but the picture within the region is beginning to show signs of shifting. In aggregate, we forecast that the region’s economy will expand by 4.5%, the same pace that we expect to see in 2014. However, as China’s economic growth rate continues to slow, other countries will begin to compete for the title of regional star performer.

China will post another impressive performance in 2015. Although the size of its workforce is already shrinking, the country’s economy will expand by 7% next year, supported by continuing high levels of investment and the rapid development of domestic consumer markets.

Despite the fact that most countries in the world would be ecstatic to achieve this sort of growth rate, for many within China the result will be disappointing. It marks another step away from the years when double-digit increases were the norm. Gallingly, it will also put China only among the middle of the ranks of other rapidly growing economies in Asia.

Asia’s fastest-growing economy in 2015 will be a country that most investors will not have considered closely before. Papua New Guinea tops the regional rankings with a GDP growth rate of 14.8%, owing to a huge increase in its energy exports as a giant new ExxonMobil-led liquid natural gas (LNG) project comes on stream.

It will be closely followed in the double-digit club by Macau, at 10.6%, where a series of new casino developments on the Cotai Strip should boost exports of gambling services—provided that a recent drop in earnings, caused by a shift in mainland-Chinese policies affecting the territory’s gambling sector, proves to be temporary.

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August 14, 2014

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