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|A view of Ho Chi Minh City, an economic hub in the south of Vietnam (Photo: VNA)|
It made the forecast in a regular update to its annual flagship economic publication, the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2020, which was released in April.
Economic activity in Southeast Asia is expected to contract by 2.7 percent in 2020 before growing by 5.2 percent in 2021.
Contractions are forecast in key economies as containment measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic have affected domestic consumption and investment, including Indonesia (-1.0 percent), the Philippines (-3.8 percent), and Thailand (-6.5 percent).
It also noted that developing Asian economies will barely grow in 2020 as coronavirus containment measures have hampered economic activity and weakened external demand.
The ADB projected growth of 0.1 percent for the region in 2020, down from the 2.2 percent forecast in April, which would be the slowest pace for the region since 1961.
It still maintained its 2021 forecast at 6.2 percent but said GDP levels in the year would remain below what had been envisioned and below pre-crisis trends.
“Economies in Asia and the Pacific will continue to feel the blow from the COVID-19 pandemic this year, even as lockdowns are slowly eased and select economic activities restart in a ‘new normal’ scenario,” said ADB Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada.
“While we see a higher growth outlook for the region in 2021, this is mainly due to weak numbers this year and this will not be a V-shaped recovery. Governments should undertake policy measures to reduce the negative impact of COVID-19 and ensure that no further waves of outbreaks occur,” he added.