Many developing nations in the East Asia/Pacific region will take a major hit economically due to the coronavirus outbreak, but some are also expected to finish off 2020 escaping negative GDP growth. According to a report by the Asian Development Bank published today, Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and the Philippines are expected to deal with the biggest losses, while Vietnam and China are expected to record GDP growth of 1.8 percent each for the year. Taiwan is projected to escape the negative figures narrowly at 0.8 percent growth.
Countries that rely on tourism heavily (Thailand, Cambodia) have proved vulnerable in this crisis, as are countries that carry high debts (Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam). Yet, Vietnam has profited from picking up the slack left by decreasing Chinese export early in the year. The country’s manufacturing sector had been taking over certain market segments even before the crisis as the Chinese economy is transitioning to a higher value-added model. Finally, countries with prolonged lockdowns and high case numbers (Indonesia, Philippines) are also suffering the consequences.
On the whole, developing economies in Asia are expected to shrink by 0.7 percent in 2020. The report expects the region’s economy to generally bounce back in 2021 and experience stronger growth than it had in 2019.