Growth in Asia to hit 50-year-low

Business | Reuters and Winnie Lee 30 Sep 2020

The pandemic is expected to stoke the slowest growth in more than 50 years in East Asia and the Pacific as well as China while the virus may shave off 11.4 percent from Hong Kong's gross domestic product this year.

The World Bank said in an economic update on Monday, the region is expected to grow by only 0.9 percent in 2020, the lowest rate since 1967.

Growth in China was expected to come in at 2 percent this year, boosted by government spending, strong exports, and a low rate of coronavirus infections since March, but held back by slow domestic consumption. The rest of East Asia and the Pacific region was projected to see a 3.5 percent contraction.

Meanwhile, the former president of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Professor Lawrence Lau Juen-yee expects Hong Kong's economy will return to positive growth in the first quarter next year if the pandemic is controlled and there is no political unrest.

He said the SAR government should increase public investment and spending to create more job positions and stimulus economic activities, rather than give cash handouts. Lau expects Hong Kong GDP to shrink 9 percent year-on-year this quarter, before falling 5 percent next quarter.

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