COVID-19 has delivered a triple shock to the developing East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region: the pandemic itself, the economic impact of containment measures, and reverberations from the global recession brought on by the crisis.
It will need swift action to ensure that the pandemic does not hamper growth and increase poverty for years to come, according to From Containment to Recovery, the World Bank’s October 2020 Economic Update for East Asia and the Pacific.
Domestic economic activity is reviving in some countries that have so far contained the spread of the virus. But the region’s economy heavily depends on the rest of the world, and global demand remains subdued.
The region as a whole is expected to grow by only 0.9 percent in 2020, the lowest rate since 1967. While China is forecast to grow by 2.0 percent in 2020 – boosted by government spending, strong exports, and a low rate of new COVID-19 infections since March, but checked by slow domestic consumption – the rest of the EAP region is projected to contract by 3.5 percent.
Thailand’s baseline and lowercase GDP growth projections are now as low as -8.3% and -10.4%.
An important lesson from the crisis to date is that countries with well-functioning social protection programs and good implementation infrastructure, pre-COVID, have been able to scale up more quickly during the pandemic.
Thailand’s ability to identify, screen, and provide support to millions of previously uncovered…