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Chief Emerging Asia Economist
Miguel Chanco produces Pantheon’s Emerging Asia service, having covered several parts of the region for over ten years. He was previously the Lead Analyst for ASEAN at the Economist Intelligence Unit. Prior to that role, Miguel focused on India and frontier markets in South Asia for Capital Economics and Fitch Solutions (previously BMI Research).
Miguel holds an MSc in International Political Economy from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, and an undergraduate degree in Economics and Finance from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Miguel was based in Singapore from 2010 before moving to the UK in 2017. Born and raised in the Philippines, he speaks fluent Tagalog.
Recent key calls include:
2023/24 - Our downbeat view on the Philippine consumer—the economy’s main driver, by far—continues to play out. We’ve been saying for some time that the deterioration in household balance sheets, caused initially by the Covid-era damage to savings and exacerbated by the debt binge fuelled partly by the 2022 global cost-of-living crisis, would lead to a slowdown in private consumption growth beyond the mere exhaustion of post-pandemic pent-up demand. As things stand, private consumption growth is treading water just over 5%, half the peak in Q1 2022 and the softest it has been since 2011, leaving aside the Covid-era crash.
2023 – Was ahead of the curve on Thailand’s growth slowdown in 2023 and the rapid pace of disinflation during this period. GDP growth deteriorated to 1.9%, shy of our below-consensus 2.6% forecast at the start of the year, but completely against the initial expectations for an improvement to 3.8%. Not surprisingly, the end-2023 consensus for no BoT rate cuts this year has moved firmly in line with our view that the MPC will slash rates by at least 50bp.
April 2023 – Correctly projected that core inflation would fall to “the low-5% range come April”, following the RBI’s rate hike in February 2023, and that the MPC’s ongoing concerns over the stickiness in core inflation around the symbolic 6% mark for two years running were unwarranted. The actual April 2023 print was 5.2% and core inflation has softened much further since, to a 50-month low of 3.6% as of January 2024.
March 2023 – Correctly predicted the first rate cuts in Emerging Asia last year, writing that a number of signs in Vietnam—including the damning collapse in M2 growth—pointed to at least 50bp worth of easing by the SBV. At the time, the consensus was for additional tightening worth 50bp by year-end. The SBV reduced its benchmark refinancing rate by 50bp in April, before cutting by a further 100bp in May and June, amid a GDP growth collapse that turned out to be closer to our below-consensus forecast.
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