8 Oct 2015; Asia One Business
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts Brunei economy to contract by 1.2 per cent this year. This is lower than the 0.5 per cent contraction that the IMF projected in its April report. The IMF, in its latest World Economic Outlook issued Tuesday, expects the sultanate’s consumer price index to remain unchanged. But the IMF said Brunei’s economy will improve in 2016, with GDP expanding by 3.2 per cent, up from the 2.8 per cent projected in April. The Washington-based institution didn’t provide details for the sultanate’s growth outlook. Economies of ASEAN members were also a “bit weaker” than expected, reflecting lower exports and a slowdown domestic demand, the IMF said. The IMF forecasts the ASEAN 5 economies, made up of the region’s five biggest economies, to expand 4.6 per cent, down from the April projection of 5.2 per cent. The ASEAN 5 economies, which is comprised of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam, posted the same growth rate of 4.6 per cent in 2014. The IMF said Malaysian and Indonesian economies are expected to slow this year, as they are affected by “weaker terms of trade.”
Growth in Thailand, on the other hand, is projected to pick up by 2.5 per cent due to reduced policy uncertainty. Economic growth in the Philippines is stable at six per cent while Vietnam’s GDP is expected to expand 6.5 per cent as the country benefits from the weakening oil price windfall. The IMF said growth in commodity exporters will be “negatively affected”, and their vulnerabilities will increase further in light of lower revenue and foreign exchange earnings. Brunei is an exporter of oil and gas, which accounts for 90 per cent of the country’s earnings.