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A man eats a meal in a chair set outside a restaurant in Kowloon District in Hong Kong’s Sham Shui Po district on the early morning of July 29, 2020, as new social distancing measures involving restaurants are allowed to take effect. just to serve ready meals, to fight a new wave of coronavirus infections.

Anthony Wallace | AFP | Getty Images

SINGAPORE Emerging Asia, which includes countries such as China, India, Indonesia and Singapore, will contract this year for the first time in nearly six decades as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hit economies around the world, the Asian Development Bank said.

In its updated opinion report, ADB said GDP in emerging Asia will contract 0.7% this year. The bank also said three-quarters of the region’s economies will shrink in 2020, lowering its GDP forecasts for those countries.

The pandemic, which has now infected more than 29 million people worldwide, slowed domestic consumption, affected external demand and hit exports, Yasuyuki Sawada, ADB chief economist, told Street Signs Asia on Tuesday. CNBC.

“Moreover, travel bans really undermine the free flow of people, as well as the trade of goods and services,” he said.

In an effort to slow the spread of the virus, some countries have closed borders to non-residents while most have implemented varying degrees of social restraint, including periods of total blockades in countries like India.

South and Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia was previously expected to grow 1% for the year, but is now projected to contract 3.8%, with Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore each experiencing a decline of more than 6%, the ADB said. The Philippines and Indonesia have reported the highest number of infections among Southeast Asian countries.

China, where the coronavirus outbreak was first reported in late December, is the only country expected to record positive growth, albeit well below the levels reported by the world’s second-largest economy in recent years. China is set to record a 1.8% expansion in 2020, down from an earlier forecast of 2.3%, as its economy is slowly getting back on track, according to the report.

Infection levels in the country appear to be under control. This is in contrast to the rapid outbreak in India, which is now the epicenter of the pandemic in Asia with more than 4.8 million cases reported.

India is projected to record a 9% decline for the 2020 calendar year, the ADB said. This was revised from a previous 4% growth forecast. India’s fiscal year runs from April 1 to March 31 of the following year. In the three months between April and June, India’s economy shrank to its steepest pace of 23.9% following a national stalemate between April and May.

Growth growth

Growth is likely to recover in 2021 with emerging Asia expected to record a 6.8% expansion. India is set to grow 8% for the next calendar year, according to the report.

“Our basic assumption is basically Covid-19 can be controlled within this year, towards the end of this year. Once it contains the health risks, we can predict a strong setback,” Sawada told CNBC. He explained that governments in developing Asia and the Pacific have already announced support measures amounting to more than $ 3 trillion, with about 15% of GDP. Many of those countries still have room for further enlargement or accommodation policies, he said.

“I think it is very, very important to keep families, especially poor families and vulnerable groups, as well as micro and small enterprises to keep and keep alive, so that after controlling the health crisis, they can to recover strongly, “Sawada said, adding that” the large-scale package helped stabilize financial markets. “

A large part of the amount came from governments in East Asia, especially China, ADB data showed.

But the bank warned in its report that a prolonged wave of Covid-19 infections could stifle recovery and further disrupt demand and supply as worsening geopolitical tensions, particularly between the US and China, remain a risk.

Prolonged weakness could trigger crises in some economies, the ADB said.

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