Trade volume and activities have been going up within Asia, but that could soon change depending on which way trade tensions between the U.S. and China swing.
In the past year, growth in Asian trade corridors has increased, according to data derived from Citi's support of clients' trading activities.
The bank's client business between South Korea and India went up by 55 percent between April 2017 and March 2018. Between China and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region, it shot up by 66 percent in the same period. Overall, its growth in Asia has gone up by 26 percent year on year, the bank said.
Increasingly, Asia “is relying more on Asia” as consumption goes up, Munir Nanji, Citi Global Subsidiaries Group's head for Asia Pacific, told CNBC.
According to statistics from the World Trade Organization, world trade volume for goods went up by 4.7 percent in 2017, the highest since 2011 and a leap from the 1.8 percent growth in 2016. The 2017 increase was driven by rising import demand from Asia, as well as increased investment and consumption expenditure. In fact, Asia had the fastest trade volume growth of any region in 2017 for both exports and imports — 6.7 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively, the WTO said.
However, the ongoing trade spat between the U.S. and China may soon start to have an impact on Asia, especially emerging markets, experts say.
The WTO acknowledged that risk in its outlook for 2018 and 2019: "Balanced against these broadly positive signs is a rising tide of anti-trade sentiment and the increased willingness of governments to employ restrictive trade measures."
But it could also be a good thing for certain markets in Asia, as companies look for alternative supply sources beyond the U.S.