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Graphics: APEC posts weak economic growth in post-pandemic recovery

Updated 14:59, 13-Nov-2023

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Week is underway. Since its establishment in 1989, APEC has grown to become a dynamic engine of economic growth and one of the most important regional forums in the Asia-Pacific. 

However, the legacy of the pandemic, stubborn inflation, trade protectionism and geo-economic fragmentation cast shadows over APEC's prospects. 

Graphics: APEC posts weak economic growth in post-pandemic recovery

The APEC region recorded a slower real GDP growth of 2.6 percent year on year in 2022 from 5.9 percent in 2021, according to the APEC Regional Trends Analysis report published by the APEC Policy Support Unit (PSU) in August.

Supply-demand imbalances compounded by geopolitical issues put an upward pressure on prices. "Higher living costs hinder our ability to drive towards a steady economic recovery post-pandemic," said PSU Director Carlos Kuriyama.

According to the report, the inflation rate in APEC reached 5.9 percent in 2022, up from 2.9 percent in 2021. It is projected to moderate to 4.4 percent this year.

Graphics: APEC posts weak economic growth in post-pandemic recovery

Trade performance also decreased slightly in the first quarter of 2023 due to weak global demand. The value of APEC's merchandise exports and imports in the first quarter of 2023 declined 3.9 percent and 4.7 percent year on year, respectively. 

In contrast, the region's foreign direct investment (FDI) performed better in 2022, with the outflows and inflows reaching $1.18 trillion and $1.04 trillion, respectively. Within the resilient increase in the FDI, the announced greenfield investment of the region maintained its growth momentum in 2022 to reach $434 billion. 

While the APEC region is expected to grow at a more stable pace in the short to medium-term, supported by a rebound in trade and investment, it is noticeable to remain vigilant and address uncertainties head-on. APEC's economy is expected to pick up in the short term, with GDP projected to expand by 3.1 percent this year, the report added. 

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