MANILA, PHILIPPINES (28 April 2021) — Economic growth in developing Asia is set to rebound to 7.3% this year, supported by a healthy global recovery and early progress on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines, according to a new report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The projected resurgence follows a 0.2% contraction last year, according to ADB’s flagship economic publication, Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2021, released today.
The region’s growth is forecast to moderate to 5.3% in 2022
Excluding the newly industrialized economies of Hong Kong, China; the Republic of Korea; Singapore; and Taipei,China, developing Asia’s economic activity is expected to grow 7.7% this year and 5.6% in 2022.
“Growth is gaining momentum across developing Asia, but renewed COVID-19 outbreaks pose a threat to recovery,” said ADB Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada.
Rising exports are boosting some economies in developing Asia amid strengthening global economic activity, including a rebound in manufacturing. Progress on the production and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines has contributed to this momentum, but the pandemic remains the biggest risk for the region as potential delays in vaccine rollouts or significant new outbreaks could undermine growth.
Other risks include increasing geopolitical tensions, production bottlenecks, financial turmoil from tightening financial conditions, and long-term scarring—for instance, learning losses due to school closures.
Most economies in developing Asia will see healthy growth this year and in 2022
Central Asian economies are forecast to grow 3.4% on average this year and 4.0% next year. The trade-dependent economies of Southeast Asia will also recover, with the subregion forecast to grow 4.4% this year and 5.1% in 2022 after contracting 4.0% in 2020. Pacific economies, still affected by global travel restrictions and a collapse in tourism, will post modest growth this year at 1.4%, before expanding by 3.8% next year.
Strong exports and a gradual recovery in household consumption will boost economic activity in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) this year. The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to expand 8.1% in 2021 and 5.5% in 2022. East Asia’s GDP is expected to grow 7.4% in 2021 and 5.1% in 2022.
Thailand’s growth likely to lag behind peers
But in Thailand slow vaccination progress coupled with a surge of infections has prompted Kasikorn Research Centre to lower its growth projection for the Thai economy this year from 2.6 percent to 1.8 percent.
Since April 23, Thailand’s COVID-19 caseload has risen by more than 2,000 infections per day, indicating the latest wave is spreading faster than outbreaks early last year and in December.
However, ADB’s forecast for Thailand growth in 2021 remains set at 3% (and 4.5% in 2022).
India’s economy is expected to grow 11.0% in fiscal year 2021
India’s economy, meanwhile, is expected to grow 11.0% in fiscal year (FY) 2021, which ends on 31 March 2022, amid a strong vaccine drive. However, the recent surge in COVID-19 cases may put this recovery at risk. India’s GDP is expected to expand 7.0% in FY2022. This year, South Asia’s GDP growth is expected to rebound to 9.5%, following a 6.0% contraction in 2020, before moderating to 6.6% next year.
Inflation in developing Asia is projected to fall to 2.3% from 2.8% last year, as food-price pressures ease in India and the PRC. The region’s inflation rate is forecast to rise to 2.7% in 2022.
The report also examines the costs of pandemic-induced school closures across developing Asia. Countries are using distance learning, but this is only partially effective as many students lack access to computers and the internet. These disruptions will affect the skills students acquire and, eventually, their productivity and earnings as future workers.
Learning losses range from 8.0% of a year of learning in the Pacific, where schools have mostly stayed open, to 55% in South Asia, where school closures have been longest. The present value of students’ future earning reductions is estimated at $1.25 trillion for developing Asia, equivalent to 5.4% of the region’s GDP in 2020.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.
Thailand’s economic growth expected to return to 2019 levels in mid-2023
Although the economy would recover next year, the recovery is still substantially below potential level resulting in a large output loss and could affect Thailand’s potential economic growth in the future with the economy expected to return to 2019 levels in mid-2023.
The Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), one of Thailand’s largest commercial banks, said in its latest economic outlook report that the country’s economy may wait until the second semester of 2023 to return to 2019 growth levels.(more…)
World Bank cuts Thailand’s GDP growth outlook to 1% in 2021
The World Bank has said that Thailand’s economy is forecast to grow 1% this year, down from the 2.2% projected in July, hit by a spike in COVID-19 cases and a delayed reopening to visitors.
Can border reopening revive tourism in South-East Asia?
In Thailand, where pre-pandemic tourism accounted for 11-12% of GDP, the country lost an estimated $50bn last year as Covid-19...
Thailand dropped from UK’s tough covid-19 travel ‘red list’
Earlier, Thailand was listed among countries with high infection levels that were put on a ‘red list’, requiring arrivals to...
The ASEAN-Russia Trade and Investment Cooperation Work Program
ASEAN and Russia recently agreed to enhance and widen economic cooperation at the 10th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM)-Russia Consultations held...
Flexible Workspace Startup Worklounge Debuts with 20+ Luxury Member Lounges in Thailand
Worklounge launches a premium membership granting remote professionals and executives access to exclusive hotel lounges across Thailand. Their platform is...
5 insights to guide ASEAN’s digital generation in a post-pandemic world
We surveyed 86,000 people from six ASEAN countries about their views for a post-pandemic world. The ASEAN Digital Generation Report...