ASEAN region is facing increased growth challenges. Reuters

The growth outlook for ASEAN economies like Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia is likely to diverge in 2016 and 2017, thanks to weakening global demand, rating agency Moody's Investors Service said on 22 March.

"The growth prospects of ASEAN's major export-orientated economies, namely Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, would remain weaker than those of more domestic demand-driven economies as Indonesia and the Philippines, according to Rahul Ghosh, Moody's Vice-President and Senior Research Analyst.

"Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand are susceptible to a prolonged period of subdued global demand via both the export channel and weaker investment demand," he said.

Export growth was slumping across the region. However, the overall economic impact would vary based on the relative importance of trade to gross domestic product (GDP).

According to Moody's, total trade -- the sum of exports and imports -- accounts for 346%, 131% and 130% of GDP in Singapore (Aaa stable), Malaysia (A3 stable) and Thailand (Baa1 stable), respectively.

This is much higher than the 41% recorded for Indonesia (Baa3 stable) and 58% for the Philippines (Baa2 stable).