Malaysia has been ranked top in the Southeast Asian region in a new logistics industry ranking conducted by the UK based 2017 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index.
Global supply chain executives continue to see Malaysia as a top investment destination, according to the report, said Chris Price, chief executive officer of supply chain solutions company Asia-Pacific for Agility Global Integrated Logistics, who was commenting on some of the findings included in the Index, now in its eighth year.
There were no changes among countries among the top 10, but scores for seven of the 10 countries deteriorated: China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, and Russia, said Price.
“Malaysia’s open economy and continued investment in infrastructure have positioned it as an attractive export location,” he said.
“The country continues to develop and upgrade its economy with an aim to achieve a high-income status by 2020,” added Price. “It is likely to remain an ASEAN leader and a country that other emerging markets look to as they develop their own long-term strategic blueprints.”
He said Malaysia ranked 4th in the overall Index, which offers a snapshot of industry sentiment and a ranking of the world’s 50 leading emerging markets by size, business conditions, and infrastructure and transport connections.
Price said that China, the world’s second-largest economy, was again the No. 1 emerging market, ahead of India, which climbed to No.2, its highest-ever Index ranking. Next were: United Arab Emirates (3), Malaysia (4), Saudi Arabia (5), Indonesia (6), Brazil (7), Mexico (8), Turkey (9) and Russia (10).
He said that of the 50 countries in the Index, Malaysia was No. 2 behind only United Arab Emirates in Market Connectedness, which measured the effectiveness of a country’s domestic and international transport infrastructure. Among the smaller economies in the Index – those with annual GDP of US$300 billion or less – it had the “best Market Size and Growth Attractiveness rating.”
Some highlights include:
· The Logistics executives surveyed say “the health of China’s economy is likely to set the tone for emerging markets overall.”
· Seventy-six percent of survey respondents said China’s economy is slowing, but only 17 percent said the “slowdown is significantly hindering the transport and logistics sector. Nearly 66 percent said a slowing Chinese economy will not alter their business or expansion plans in China.”
· Iran moved up eight spots to No. 18 in the Index and climbed from 9th to No. 15 among countries that survey respondents say has the most potential to grow as a logistics market. Iran’s gains were the largest of any country in the 2017 Index or survey.
· Despite their upbeat views of India and Iran, industry professionals sounded notes of caution about the broad outlook for emerging markets. “Nearly 69 percent expressed concern that the UK’s Brexit vote and the failure of global and regional trade initiatives signal a threat to trade. A sizeable minority – 43 percent — said the International Monetary Fund is too optimistic in forecasting 4.6 percent growth for emerging markets in the coming year.”
· Pakistan improved its year-to-year ranking, jumping three spots to No. 17. Thailand (No. 15) and Sri Lanka (No. 32) both fell two spots. Rankings for other Asia-Pacific markets: Philippines (16); Vietnam (19); Bangladesh (27); Cambodia (45).
·Myanmar (48) was added to the Index for the first time, along with Iran (18), Ghana (39), Angola (49) and Mozambique (50). Previous-year scores were calculated for those countries to give a basis for year-on-year comparisons.
To accompany the release of the Index, John Manners-Bell, chief executive of logistics analyst firm Transport Intelligence (Ti), which carries out the annual survey, said: “Uncertainty and volatility have characterized many emerging markets in 2016. This has been compounded by the political environment in Europe and the U.S., which will have direct consequences on trade with Latin America, Asia, and Africa.”
“However there have been many positives too — for example, the strong performance of India,” added Manners-Bell. “More than ever, the Index identifies and contrasts those markets which will prosper from the most vulnerable and poorest performing.”