A nation's population growth telegraphs rising gross domestic product, and that means that among Southeast Asian nations, the largest GDP gains over the next decade will come from the Philippines, according to a report issued Friday.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch said population growth isn't a particularly good indicator of rising equity values, but it does reliably augur overall economic growth, the report's author, Hak Bin Chua, said. Since that's the case, pride of place goes to the Philippines, where the population is growing faster than in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.
"Asia’s demographic divide between North and South over the next decade is stark," the report said. "Latest U.N. Population 2012 Revisions has made the divergence even starker by extending the demographic peaks for the Philippines and Indonesia. Demographics were found to be strong predictors of real GDP growth but weaker predictors of stock market performance. Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore – in that order – will likely see the strongest labor force growth over the next decade. Thailand is emerging as the old man in ASEAN. Japan, HK, Korea and China will see their working-age population shrink."