Regional economic growth in developing Asia will decline sharply in 2020 due to the effects of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, before recovering in 2021, according to the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2020, the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) annual flagship economic publication.
Excluding Asia’s high-income newly industrialized economies, growth will drop from 5.7% to 2.4% this year before recovering to 6.7% next year, says ADB.
Nine Asian economies that rely on tourism and commodities are likely to shrink, the ADB said, and the hardest hit would be Thailand.
These economies are: Thailand (-4.8%), Hong Kong (-3.3%), the Maldives (-3.0%), Timor Leste (-2.0%), Fiji (-4.9%), Vanuatu (-1.0%), Cook Islands (-2.2%), Palau (-4.5%) and Samoa (-3.0%).
Restrained largely by slowing exports, Thailand posted paltry growth at 2.4% last year. GDP growth is likely to slow further to –4.8% this year but could pick up to 2.5% in 2021. Risks to the growth forecast remain tilted to the downside as COVID-19 could be especially damaging to an economy heavily dependent on international trade and tourism.