Beyond Asia: new patterns of trade

Rapid-growth markets (RGMs) will increasingly dominate world trade over the next 10 years, with Asia-Pacific experiencing the fastest growth in exports, particularly within the region.

Building on our analysis of future global trade patterns and the results of our recent survey of East and Southeast Asian business executives, this report examines how trade in and between the nine largest or most rapidly growing economies in Asia-Pacific will affect global business.

We expect Asia’s RGMs to increase their share of global consumption from 14% to 25% by 2020.

But what would happen if Asia’s middle class expands faster than expected? How would this impact domestic demand and intra-regional trade?

Companies wanting to move up the global value chain are increasing exports, a trend that is rebalancing growth among countries in the area.

However, if China outpaces others too rapidly up the value chain, what would be the consequences for intra-regional trade?

We explore these questions and present a baseline forecast for patterns of trade in Asia by 2020 to help you as your strategic growth plans take shape. We also look at two alternative scenarios:

  • A faster-than-expected expansion of Asia’s middle class, which would drive an increase in consumer spending, producing a virtual circle of growth
  • A move up the value chain too quickly by one country over the others in the region could reduce intra-regional trade, a key driver of overall regional trade volume


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