Apec’s economy grows 3.5 amid strong household spending

Apec’s economy grows 3.5 amid strong household spending
SunStar Business

ASIA Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (Apec) gross domestic product grew by 3.5 percent in 2023, up from 2.6 percent in 2022, driven by robust household spending and high consumer confidence, according to the Apec Policy Support Unit.

Director Carlos Kuriyama highlighted government spending and a recovering services sector, particularly travel and tourism, as key contributors.

However, Kuriyama warned of slower growth in 2025 and 2026 due to geopolitical uncertainties, trade protectionism and fluctuating commodity prices, calling for stronger multilateral cooperation.

Inflation eased to 3.9 percent in 2023 from 5.9 percent in 2022 and is expected to drop to 2.9 percent in 2024.

Analyst Rhea Hernando noted the potential easing of monetary policies but cautioned against inflationary pressures from supply chain disruptions and geopolitical issues.

The report highlighted currency depreciations and rising freight costs due to extended drought and increased risks at the Panama and Suez Canals. Trade activity was dampened by uncertainties, with merchandise exports growing marginally by 0.3 percent and imports contracting by 1.4 percent.

Kuriyama emphasized the need for vigilance, debt reduction, structural reforms and deeper cooperation to navigate current challenges and achieve sustainable and inclusive growth. / KOC

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