COVID-19: China’s growth could come to a screeching halt

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As we've mentioned the World Bank has released its economic outlook for how countries in East Asia will fare this year, taking into account the impact coronavirus will have on their future growth.

"In a lower-case scenario, you could see contraction for the first time in decades", Aaditya Mattoo, the World Bank's Chief Economist for East Asia and the Pacific, told journalists on Monday (30 March) in a conference call adding that "even if you see growth, thousands of tourism workers in Thailand, garment workers in Cambodia could be pushed below the poverty line".

The pandemic is causing an unprecedented global shock, which could bring growth to a halt.

A senior official at the World Health Organization warned that the coronavirus pandemic is "far from over" in the Asia-Pacific region, and said states must "keep preparing for large-scale community transmission".

In China, where the coronavirus outbreak originated late past year, growth was projected to slow to 2.3% in the baseline scenario, or as low as 0.1% in the lower-case scenario, compared to growth of 6.1% in 2019. China's growth would slow down to 2.3 per cent from 6.1 per cent in 2019, the report also said.

The COVID-19 shock will also have a serious impact on poverty.

Even in the very best case, marked by a pointy slowdown adopted by a robust restoration, 24 million fewer individuals within the area will escape poverty, the report stated.

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Targeted fiscal stimulus measures - such as subsidies for sick pay and healthcare - would ensure that the temporary effects do not translate into longer-term losses, it said.

In addition to targeted fiscal measures, countries should look to deeper worldwide cooperation and new cross-border public-private partnerships to ramp up the production and supply of key medical supplies and services, and ensure financial stability in the aftermath of the crisis, it said.

The World Bank also urged countries to forge deeper global cooperation and new cross-border public-private partnerships to ramp up the production and supply of key medical supplies and services, and ensure financial stability in the aftermath of the crisis.

Another policy recommendation is easing credit to help households smooth their consumption and help firms survive the immediate shock. Worse still - it's also risking the livelihoods of millions of Asia's most vulnerable.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, economic circumstances within countries and regions are fluid and change on a day-by-day basis.

Based on available data, the US has now overtaken China as the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, though there are questions around the reliability of figures released by Beijing.

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