HANOI, Feb 15 — Exports from six Southeast Asian countries fell 2.2 per cent in 2020 from a year earlier to a combined US$1.35 trillion, a relatively marginal decline despite COVID-19, reported Vietnam News Agency (VNA) according to data from the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO).

 Of the six, only Vietnam posted an increase in exports for the year, up 7 per cent to US$282.66 billion, with a 5.2 per cent drop to Japan more than offset by a 25.7 per cent rise to the United States and an 18 per cent expansion to China.

 Meanwhile, the Philippines logged a 10.1 per cent fall in exports last year, followed by a contraction of 6 per cent in Thailand, 4.1 per cent in Singapore and 2.6 per cent each in Malaysia and Indonesia.

 The combined trade surplus of the six Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members more than triple to US$133.66 billion, as easing energy prices and shrinking domestic demand led to steeper declines in imports than exports.

Thailand’s trade surplus surged 144.5 per cent, compared with an increase of 83.5 per cent for Vietnam, 43.9 per cent for Singapore and 25.6 per cent for Malaysia.

The Philippines narrowed its trade deficit by 46.3 per cent to US$21.84 billion. Indonesia chalked up a trade surplus of US$21.74 billion, a turnaround from a deficit of US$3.6 billion in 2019.

Singapore accounted for 27.4 per cent of the six countries’ total trade by value in 2020, followed by Vietnam at 21.3 per cent, Thailand at 17.1 per cent, Malaysia at 16.5 per cent, Indonesia at 11.9 per cent and the Philippines at 5.8 per cent.


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