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1st Quarter GDP figures of the Four Asian Tigers

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WSJ is reporting that the Hong Kong’s first quarter 2009 GDP has contracted 4.3% from its last quarter (seasonally adjusted):

Gross domestic product shrank 4.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis from the fourth quarter when the economy contracted by 1.9%. This extended the recession and marked the fourth straight quarter of contraction as the territory reels from the impact of the economic crisis.

The economy shrank 7.8% compared with the same time last year, worse than the previous quarter’s 2.6% contraction and the biggest year-to-year decline since the third quarter of 1998 when the city was hit by the Asian financial crisis.

Well that still compares favourably with Singapore, whose economy contracted 19.7%(!!) on a seasonally-adjusted month-on-month and 11.5% on a year-on-year basis for 1st quarter 2009.  Some may wonder why Hong Kong’s year-on-year contraction is much closer to Singapore’s for the same quarter and such a wide gulf exists between their m-o-m figures and Singapore’s.  The most likely explanation for that is that Singapore entered recession much earlier than Hong Kong, more specifically in the 2nd quarter 2008.  In other words, it was already slowing down noticeably during its first quarter of 2008.

How does Singapore’s 1st quarter figures stack up against other hugely export-driven economies?  As noted earlier, South Korea miraculously escaped a recession in its first quarter, growing at 0.1%.  I haven’t been following the news recently, but I don’t think Taiwan has released its 1st quarter GDP figures yet.  So that leaves Taiwan to be the only country (or rogue province for Sinophiles) of the Four Asian Tigers to have yet to release their first quarter figures.  Here’s an update on Taiwan’s figures for the last quarter of 2008.

Here’s a tabulated summary:

Asian Tigers’ 1st Quarter 2009 GDP growth figures

  Quarter-on-quarter Year-on-year
Singapore -19.7% -14.6% -11.5% -10.1%
Hong Kong -4.3% -7.8%
South Korea +0.1% -4.3%
Taiwan N/A -10.24%

Update: Here’s a recent news report estimating Taiwan’s 1st quarter GDP growth figures.

Update 2: Reuters is reporting that Singapore may be revising its growth numbers slightly upwards.  Will be updating the table above once the new figures are out.

Update 3: I’ve updated Singapore’s figures as per the official report.  The released figures are less severe than estimated by the Reuters report in the previous update.

Update 4: Taiwan’s GDP figures are finally out. Table updated.  Unlike the other countries, Taiwan doesn’t release quarter-to-quarter comparison figures.

Written by defennder

May 16, 2009 at 2:00 PM

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