The Financial Express

Developing Asia's economy to decline sharply in 2020 due to COVID-19: ADB

Published: April 03, 2020 12:35:59 | Updated: April 06, 2020 18:48:47

Asia's economy to decline sharply in 2020 due to COVID-19: ADB

The regional economic growth in developing Asia will decline sharply in 2020 due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic before recovering in 2021, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB.

The ADB said in the report, Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2020, forecasted the regional growth of 2.2 per cent in 2020, a downward revision of 3.3 percentage points relative to the 5.5 per cent ADB forecasted in September 2019.

The report released on Friday said that the growth is expected to rebound to 6.2 per cent in 2021, assuming that the outbreak ends and activity normalizes, reports Xinhua.

ADO is the annual flagship economic publication of the Manila-based bank.

Excluding the newly industrialised economies of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, South Korea, Singapore, and China's Taiwan, the report forecasts developing Asia to grow 2.4 per cent this year, compared to 5.7 per cent in 2019, before rebounding to 6.7 per cent in 2021.

"The evolution of the global pandemic -- and thus the outlook for the global and regional economy -- is highly uncertain," ADB Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada said, adding "the growth could turn out lower, and the recovery slower, than we are currently forecasting."

"For this reason, strong and coordinated efforts are needed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and minimize its economic impact, especially on the most vulnerable," Sawada said.

Underpinning much of the weakness across Asia is a deteriorating external environment, with growth stagnating or contracting in the major industrial economies of the United States, the Euro area, and Japan. Some commodity and oil exporters, such as those in Central Asia, will be hit by a collapse in commodity prices. Brent oil prices are expected to average 35 US dollars per barrel this year, down from 64 US dollars in 2019.

The report also said that all of developing Asia's sub-regions will see growth weaken this year because of weak global demand, and in some economies because of domestic outbreaks and containment policies.

It further said that subregions that are more economically open like East and Southeast Asia, or tourism-dependent like the Pacific, will be hard hit. Economic activity in the Pacific sub-region is expected to contract by 0.3 per cent in 2020 before recovering to 2.7 per cent in 2021.

A special section of the report provided an update on the likely economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on developing Asia's economies, and on sectors within these economies.

According to the report, the global cost of the pandemic could range from 2.0 trillion US dollars to 4.1 trillion US dollars, equivalent to a loss of between 2.3 per cent to 4.8 per cent of global gross domestic product.

These estimates, which update earlier ADB research released on March 6, reflect the now-global nature of the pandemic, the extensive use of containment policies and travel bans worldwide.

"It should be noted that the estimate does not take into account such factors as supply disruptions, interrupted remittances, urgent health care costs, and potential financial disruptions, as well as the long-term effects on education and the economy," ADB said.


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