Frontier Markets Growth Slowed in 2016 but Trade Now Picking Up


Tuesday, July 04, 2017, 10:44 AM /Fitch Ratings

GDP growth in 'frontier' emerging markets slowed further in 2016 as Nigeria, Ecuador, Belarus and Angola saw outright declines in GDP. However, 'frontier' market (FM) countries are now starting to see an improvement in trade growth, according to Fitch Ratings' latest 'Frontier Vision' chart pack.

FM economies, like emerging markets more generally, suffered significant macroeconomic pressures in the wake of the 2014 and 2015 commodity price collapse. GDP growth in FM economies averaged around 3% in 2016 (weighted by 2015 GDP in USD terms), down from 4% in 2015.

The slowdown was driven mainly by Nigeria, Angola and Ecuador. FM growth has slowed continuously over the last three years from a rate of 5% recorded in 2013. This is partly explained by the knock-on effects of weaker commodity prices on domestic income and spending.

However, the latest data also show trade growth picking up across most countries. Three-quarters of FM countries are currently seeing faster growth in exports or imports compared with a year ago. The pick-up in exports in Asian FMs, including Mongolia and Vietnam, is particularly pronounced. This is consistent with the pick-up in world trade recently highlighted in Fitch's June 2017 Global Economic Outlook.

Fitch's Frontier Vision chart pack tracks high frequency macroeconomic data for the 33 countries included in JP Morgan's Next Generation Market Index (NEXGEM). The charts cover five years of historical data and the choice of data series has been harmonised as far as possible across all countries to facilitate comparisons.

The index comprises 33 countries representing Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Europe and Asia. Frontier Vision is available at or by clicking the above link.

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