REGIONAL export growth is expected to rise further in the coming months, as more countries in Southeast Asia open up and ease restrictions, according to an international think tank.

Oxford Economics said in a recent research note that regional export growth nudged higher in October, led by an improvement in South and Southeast Asia (SEA).

“We expect the recent easing in Covid restrictions in SEA will boost sequential growth in SEA exports over the coming months. We also expect the supply-side problems, such as shortages of key parts and logistics bottlenecks, to ease over next year. With demand continuing to rise, Asia goods exports should steadily increase through 2022,” the think tank said.

Oxford Economics covers India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam as part of the SEA economic bloc.

The boost came from Singapore’s exports in October as well as Indonesia’s  strong export momentum aided by still rising coal prices.

The think tank, however, also warned of potential threats in the recovery of exports in the region, particularly due to the emergence of the new variant.

“…Challenges remain. The pandemic is not yet over, as highlighted by the Omicron variant. There is also the danger of a sharper slowdown in China. And if the global supply-side problems prove more persistent than expected, regional export performance would also likely fail to gather momentum,” Oxford Economics said.

In the Philippines, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno earlier this month said goods exports are likely to sustain the “better-than-expected” performance towards the end of 2021.

In their latest balance of payments (BOP) projections in September, the BSP expects exports to grow by 14 percent from a 9.8 percent contraction in 2020.

“Goods exports for the first half of the year have already reached prepandemic levels, driven mainly by manufactures, headlined by electronics and mineral products, among others,” the governor said.

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