Outlooks Lowered Again as Pandemic Continues
Experts Urge Proper Infection Control, Income Aid to Save Economy
Asian economists revised their economic outlooks downward again as the rate of COVID-19 infection continued to increase. The annual growth forecasts for five major Southeast Asian countries and India, which had already fallen into the negative in the June survey, were lowered further. Restrictions on activities have weakened domestic demand, and the unclear future of the pandemic has deteriorated business sentiment. Recoveries are expected after 2021, but they depend greatly on the control of COVID-19. Asked about the measures required to save economies, many economists stress the importance of increased public spending, including income support and subsidies for small firms. They also request improved infection-control measures such as enhanced testing and more tactical social distancing.
The outcome of this survey was also reported at Nikkei Asia. (October 6, 2020)
◆ Main points of the survey
- The average growth projection for 2020 for the ASEAN5 was lowered by 1.7 points from the June survey to -5.0%. Annual forecasts for all five economies were revised downward.
- The pace of decline is projected to ease in all five countries in Q3, but negative growth is expected to continue toward Q4.
- The Indian growth forecast for fiscal 2020/21 was revised down by 3.3 points to -8.4%. Figures are likely to remain negative until the Jan.-Mar. period in 2021.
- Unemployment rates have already risen significantly across the region. They are expected to increase or remain high throughout the year.
- Many economists see public spending as the key to supporting the economy. They stress that money could be used efficiently in forms such as income support for poor people.
Indonesia: Juniman, chief economist, Maybank Indonesia; Dendi Ramdani, head of industry and regional research department, Bank Mandiri; Umar Juoro, senior fellow, The Habibie Center
Malaysia: Suhaimi Ilias, chief economist, Maybank Investment Bank; Wan Suhaimie bin Wan Mohd Saidie, head, economic research, Kenanga Investment Bank; Vincent Loo Yeong Hong, senior economist, KAF Research; Lee Heng Guie, executive director, Socio-Economic Research Centre (SERC)
Philippines: Alvin Ang, director, Ateneo Center for Economic Research and Development, Ateneo de Manila University; Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist, BDO Unibank Inc.; Jojo Gonzales, managing director, Philippine Equity Partners Inc.; Pauline Revillas, research analyst, Metrobank; Emilio S. Neri Jr., vice president and lead economist, Bank of the Philippine Islands; Howie Lee, economist, OCBC Bank Singapore; Carlo Asuncion, chief economist, Union Bank of the Philippines
Singapore: Manu Bhaskaran, CEO, Centennial Asia Advisors; Randolph Tan, director, Centre for Applied Research, Singapore University of Social Sciences; Yuma Tsuchiya, senior economist, MUFG Bank, Ltd.
Thailand: Panundorn Aruneeniramarn, assistant vice president, Siam Commercial Bank – Economic Intelligence Center; Nattaporn Triratanasirikul, assistance managing director, Kasikorn Research Center; Lalita Thienprasiddhi, senior resercher, Bank of Ayudhya PCL; Amonthep Chawla, head of research, CIMB Thai Bank
India: Punit Srivastava, head of research, Daiwa Capital Markets India; Dharmakirti Joshi, chief economist, CRISIL; Sonal Varma, India chief economist, Nomura India; Tirthankar Patnaik, chief economist, National Stock Exchange of India; Shekhar Shah, director-general, National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER); Jyoti Vij, deputy secretary general, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)
For multiple countries: Euben Paracuelles, senior economist, Nomura Singapore; Rahul Bajoria, director, regional economist, Barclays Bank; Nicholas Mapa, senior economist, ING Bank Philippines
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