Asia exports slip into deeper downturn as tech boom goes ‘plop’

ASIA'S export boom is showing signs of slipping into a deeper than expected downturn, HSBC Holdings and Nomura Holdings both warned in research notes published on Tuesday (Aug 16).

The warnings from both lenders suggests the trade surge that powered Asia through the pandemic is at a turning point, matching signals that manufacturers have been sending through the year.

In a note titled: "Plop' - What the latest electronics indicators signal for Asia,' Frederic Neumann, chief Asia economist at HSBC warned that key indicators are showing a slump in new orders with demand for Asia made electronics clearly coming off the boil.

"Things are coming back down to earth - fast," Neumann wrote. "True, the headline electronics PMIs, freshly released for July, don't look quite so alarming at the surface. But dig deeper, and the stumble becomes apparent."

At the same time, Nomura's updated Asia export leading index warns the region's shipments may have reached a critical inflection point.

The bank has changed up its index, also referred to as Neli, by dropping 3 of its indicators and replacing them with 4 new ones, for a total of 9, which are pointing to a deeper slowdown in trade.

"Compared to our previous 2020 vintage model, our retooled Neli is warning of a deeper slump in Asian exports," according to Rob Subbaraman, head of global markets research at Nomura.

The Neli indicators include:

  • Shanghai Shipping Exchange Freight Index, 2-month lead
  • China's imports, 2-month lead
  • China's imports from Asia, 3-month lead
  • Global semiconductor sales, 3-month lead
  • US manufacturing ISM, 2-month lead
  • EM manufacturing PMI, 3-month lead
  • China official manufacturing PMI, 3-month lead
  • South Korea's semiconductor exports, 2-month lead
  • Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, 2-month lead

"Asian exports are often a bellwether of global growth and Neli's pointing to a darkening outlook," Subbaraman said. BLOOMBERG

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