Asia — Ease of doing business gains boost Australian export outlook

Of Australia’s largest 20 emerging market (EM) export destinations, all improved in absolute terms in the World Bank’s latest ease of doing business survey, except for the United Arab Emirates. This signals a more conducive set of regulations to enhance business activity, a positive for Australian exporters and investors.

Notably, India (up 14 places to rank 63rd) made trading across borders easier by cutting the costs and time associated with border and documentation requirements. China (up 15 places to 31st) made paying corporate taxes easier, Bahrain (up 19 places to 43rd) improved access to and reliability of electricity supply, while Pakistan (up 28 places to 108th) improved processes for registering property. Saudi Arabia (up 30 places to 62nd) made wide-ranging reforms, including establishing a one-stop shop for company incorporation that makes it easier to start a business.

Easier business conditions will support economic activity and incomes in Australia’s major EM export markets, leaving them well placed to withstand shocks. Based on projections from the IMF and weighted by total exports in 2018, growth in Australia’s largest 20 EM export markets is expected to remain broadly stable at 5.5% in 2020 from an estimated 5.6% in 2019.