East Asia, Pacific 2021 GDP growth to accelerate to 7.4% - World Bank

Author: Nurluqman Suratman

2021/03/26

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Overall economic growth in developing East Asia and Pacific countries this year is projected to accelerate to 7.4%, led by the strong recovery in China and Vietnam, the World Bank said on Friday.

The region managed to post a 1.2% growth in 2020, largely thanks to China’s strong recovery in the second half of a pandemic-hit year.

For 2021, China - the world’s second-biggest economy - is projected to grow by 8.1%, coming from last year's 2.3% growth, the slowest pace in more than four decades.

The country was the only major economy in the world that escaped a pandemic-induced recession last year.

Vietnam is also expected to overperform other economies in East Asia and the Pacific, with GDP growth projected at 6.6% this year.

Growth forecasts for other economies in the region are more moderate, the World Bank said in its report.

Next year, China's growth is projected to stabilise at an average of 5.4%, with fiscal consolidation, de-risking, and deleveraging preventing it from returning to its pre-pandemic trajectory.

"A year after the first case was confirmed in Wuhan, COVID-19 is proving hard to suppress…while the emergence of more transmissible variants of the variant poses new challenges to the containment of the disease globally,” the World Bank said in the report.

The economies of East Asia and the Pacific began to bounce back in the second half of last year but only China and Vietnam tracked the V-shaped recovery path with economic output surpassing pre-COVID-19 levels.

"Most of the other countries have not seen a full-fledged recovery in terms of either output or growth momentum," the World Bank said.

In Indonesia and Malaysia, economic output is expected to recover to its pre-pandemic level over the course of 2021.

In Thailand and in the Philippines, GDP is projected to remain below pre-pandemic levels until 2022.

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