Weakened external demand sharply decelerated
merchandise export growth in developing Asia from 18.5%
in 2011 to 4.4% in 2012 (Figure 1.1.6)—much lower than the
10.5% forecast earlier, in April 2012....
In two of the five Asian subregions—South Asia and the Pacific—exports contracted in 2012. The weakening of exports was particularly severe in South Asia, where all countries except Bangladesh and Nepal experienced a contraction. Import demand also diminished, and import growth slowed from 21.6% in 2011 to a mere 3.9% in 2012, far below the 12.8% forecast in April 2012. Southeast Asia bucked the trend toward plunging imports, as imports to the subregion remained fairly resilient, growing at almost 7% more quickly than exports to satisfy strong domestic demand. As a result, net exports declined, subtracting from growth in five of the six Southeast Asian developing economies, and the merchandise trade surplus narrowed by more than 26% in Southeast Asia. In the Republic of Korea and Taipei,China, by comparison, merchandise imports fell much more steeply than exports, reflecting weak demand for capital goods in particular. Thus, net exports contributed to growth in these two economies.
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