A Cushman & Wakefield Capital Markets Research Publication
INTRA-ASIA : SUSTAINING GLOBAL TRADE
Although the global economy is showing the first tentative steps
towards recovery, the previous few years have seen a number of
countries struggle with weak demand and reduced trade volumes.
In particular, the traditional busy trade route between Europe and
the US has eased, and instead the highest trade growth has been
seen in the intra Asia market. Interestingly, the development of
intra-Asia market Interestingly
intra-Asia trade is not purely a China based phenomenon; growth
and increasing demand have also been prevalent in other Asian
countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia, and this has helped push
trade volumes upwards.
Nevertheless, the impact of China’s influence in trading volumes
and shaping trends clearly cannot be discounted. China remains at
the forefront of trade within the region, not only due to its
expanding consumer market and the subsequent rise in demand for
goods but also due to the decisions of its manufacturers. For
example, manufacturing companies in China are increasingly using
other less expensive locations to undertake low cost
manufacturing. This includes both domestic companies in China and
international operators that are moving their manufacturing bases
away from China to other Asian markets.
With China’s rising costs, some companies are having to either
move up the value chain of manufacturing or outsource certain
operations to lower cost locations, such as Vietnam and Cambodia.
Consequently, this has had a positive effect in terms of boosting
trade across these countries and highlights the current strength of
intra Asia trade from a global perspective
Further, rising intra-Asia trade will have an effect on infrastructure
quality and provision. Lloyds List Intelligence reports that the size
of vessels using routes between North and Southeast Asia have
become noticeably larger, most between 5,000 and 7,499 TEU’s.*
These figures from August 2013 show that vessel size has increased
by 30%, highlighting the strength of the intra-Asia routes.
Consequently, this will increase the pressure on existing port
infrastructure; as larger vessels are used on these routes, facilities
may have to be upgraded or enlarged to cope with demand. Thus
as intra-Asia trade continues to grow it will not only improve
infrastructure quality but also extend the supply chain and expand
economic corridors within the region. Second and third tier cities
will become increasingly connected, such as cities in Western
China, and will see further benefits from global and regional trade.
HOW MANY OF THE 30 LARGEST CONTAINER PORTS IN THE WORLD
(BY MILLION TEU*) ARE IN EACH REGION?
Source: Journal of Commerce 2012
*TEU: twenty-foot equivalent unit (an approximate measurement for a cargo container)