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Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-12-16) Islamaj, Ergys ; Samano, AgustinPublic debt in developing East Asia and Pacific (EAP) economies has increased markedly since the recession in 2020 induced by COVID-19 pandemic. This brief uses standard debt dynamic accounting decomposition to quantify the main drivers of debt accumulation in developing EAP countries since 2000. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, larger primary deficits have been the main drivers of the increase in the ratio of public debt to GDP in most developing EAP economies. While strong GDP growth and, to a certain extent, inflation have helped deflate public-debt-to-GDP ratios during the past two decades, they have, on average, been more muted since the COVID-19 shock.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-11-17) Pollitt, Hector ; Islamaj, Ergys ; Kitchlu, Rahul ; Le, Duong Trung ; Mattoo, Aaditya ; Mattoo, AadityaSeveral countries in East Asia have increased fossil fuel subsidies to keep consumer prices lower than currently high international prices. These subsidies are discouraging the shift in consumption away from fossil fuels, while high prices are encouraging investment in new fossil fuel infrastructure. Providing income transfers instead of price subsidies would encourage consumption of cleaner alternatives, while softening the welfare loss. And subsidizing investment in renewables would avert the risk of being locked in to fossil fuels. The total cost need not be higher than that of fossil fuel subsidies.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-11-03) de Nicola, FrancescaDeveloping East Asia has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past few decades thanks to a combination of policies that fostered outward-oriented and labor-intensive growth, investments in basic human capital, and sound economic governance. However, slowing growth and shifting patterns in global trade, rapid technological change, and evolving country circumstances present challenges to sustaining past productivity growth and ensuring future growth. Thus, understanding the extent of misallocation and its drivers is an important step toward identifying the types of policies that can improve domestic productivity and the competitiveness of firms. This Research and Policy Brief reviews the evidence for East Asian countries and discusses the limitations of current approaches to measuring misallocation.
Firms’ Recovery from COVID-19 in Malaysia: Results from the 5th Round of COVID-19 Business Pulse Survey(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-08) Kuriakose, Smita ; Ting, Kok Onn ; Hebous, Sarah ; Tiew, HarisThe survey implemented in August 2022 shows that economic recovery is taking root in Malaysia as evidenced by the trends in operating hours, sales, and employment. The outlook of firms is positive and with more than 38 percent of firms relative to 34 percent of firms in R4 business pulse survey (BPS) expecting higher sales for Q4 2022. With international borders being opened, firms’ recovery has accelerated across regions and firm sizes. However, this brings about new challenges for firms such as shortages of labor, rising input costs, and increasing market competition.