Growth in service exports helped support the ASEAN+3 region’s external sector during the US-China trade conflict, remaining positive, while goods exports dropped. However, the region’s service exports tend to be seen as synonymous with its travel and tourism industry, which has been obliterated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the composition of service exports across the ASEAN+3 economies is highly diversified. A breakdown of service exports reveals where the potential post-pandemic drivers of growth for the region’s economies. We develop services trade indices that show which ASEAN+3 economies are likely to benefit the most from the recovery in their service exports, and which ones could further strengthen this segment of exports and how. We take a novel approach by “crowdsourcing” AMRO’s surveillance staff’s expert judgment on the relative speed of recovery of each of the 12 service sectors (as defined by the IMF’s Balance of Payments Manual) to calculate these indices.

Authors: Anne Oeking, Marcus Tan, Li Lian Ong, Marthe M. Hinojales