By the Numbers: ASEAN Trade Is Booming

The data driving Asia

The WTO recently released its 2012 International Trade Statistics covering global trade for 2011.These numbers confirm what we’ve already been thinking: ASEAN is booming. Not only is ASEAN back to the pre-crisis levels of 2007 and 2008, it has far surpassed them.

Just like most economies, ASEAN took a hit during the global financial meltdown:


The drop in exports for 2009. The grouping recorded $990 billion for 2008, but only drew in $814 billion for 2009.

Source: WTO International Trade Statistics 2007-2012.


The drop in mining and fuel exports for 2009. These products have long been a staple of ASEAN’s, and had grown by 34% in 2008 to almost $210 billion. However, in 2009, the total exports for fuel and mining dropped to less than $150 billion.

Yet ASEAN, quickly capitalized on the re-emergence of global demand.

$1.05 trillion

ASEAN’s exports in 2010. ASEAN jumped up 29 percent in just one year, following its 2009 drop.

Source: WTO International Trade Statistics 2007-2012.


The rise in exports for 2011, a record high $1.242 trillion in exports for ASEAN.


The increase in ASEAN’s fuel and mining exports for 2010. This industry recovered significantly, recording a $50 billion increase from 2009 up to $197 billion.

ASEAN’s resilience is especially impressive considering global exports rose by only 14% in 2010 (compared to ASEAN’s 29%) and 5% in 2011 (compared to ASEAN’s 18%).

ASEAN has capitalized on an abundance of young and cheap labor, and gained competitiveness as China’s labor costs rise. China’s increasing domestic demand has also boosted export industries in Southeast Asia. With the ASEAN Economic Community and regional economic integration discussions ongoing, ASEAN’s booming trade doesn’t look like its slowing anytime soon.


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