The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has much to crow about as it marks its 50th anniversary: economic and social progress, a manufacturing powerhouse and relative political stability.

The 10 Asean members boast of some of the world’s fastest expanding economies like the Philippines and Vietnam, with growth rates of more than 6 per cent. With a combined population of over 620 million and an economy of $2.6 trillion, the investment potential is huge and by 2020, the region will ..

Established in 1967 in Bangkok, the five founding members — Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand — set up Asean to boost economic growth and promote peace. Since then, they’ve transformed from largely poor and agricultural nations into production hubs of products from cars to mobile phones.

The following charts outline the Asean economy five decades on:

Economic Outlook
Gross domestic product in Asean has surged to $2.6 ..

Trade
Many of the bigger Asean members like Singapore are heavily export-reliant, making them dependent on the global growth cycle. Southeast Asia has emerged as a strong manufacturing alternative to neighboring China, helped by lower labor costs, growing domestic demand and improvements in infrastructure.

Trade among Asean members remains low compared to regional groupings like the EU, according to Capital Economics Ltd. Intra-regional trade makes up about a fifth of total trade, compared with more than 60 percent in the EU. Non-tariff barriers are still high among members, especially in Indonesia, Gareth Leather, a senior Asia economist in London, said in a note.

Investment
Many countries in the region are enjoying the benefits of a demographic dividend. While the likes of China, Japan and Hong Kong have all seen a contraction in their workforces since 2015, Southeast Asia will see its working-age population expand through 2020, Nomura Holdings Inc. estimates show.

The region’s strong growth outlook is luring more investment. Coca-Cola Co. is expanding in Vietnam and in Myanmar while Apple Inc. is building research ce ..

Source: Indian Times