World Bank East Asia and Pacific Economic Update

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The World Bank East Asia and Pacific Economic Update is the World Bank's comprehensive, twice-yearly review of the region's economies prepared by the East Asia and Pacific regional unit of the World Bank.

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  • Publication
    World Bank East Asia and Pacific Economic Update - Spring 2022
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-04-04) World Bank
    Amidst a fragile recovery, three clouds are gathering over the economic horizon: US inflation could provoke financial tightening, China’s structural slowdown and zero-COVID-19 policy could dampen regional exports, and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine could disrupt food and fuel supplies, spook financial markets, and undermine business confidence. Counterposed against these risks, are three opportunities. First, shifts in the patterns of comparative advantage are creating new niches in both goods and services trade. Second, the diffusion of technologies could boost productivity. Finally, new green technologies could allow countries to cut carbon emissions without unacceptable cuts in consumption or growth. Accordingly, policy action must help countries to both affect the risk and grasp the opportunities. We begin by addressing three proximate questions: What is happening to the economies? Why? And what can we expect? We then discuss the policy options that can help East Asia and Pacific economies weather the shocks and ensure sustainable growth.
  • Publication
    World Bank East Asia and Pacific Economic Update, October 2021: Long COVID
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-09-27) World Bank
    The East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region is suffering a reversal of fortune. In 2020, many EAP countries successfully contained COVID-19 and economic activity swiftly revived as other regions struggled with the pandemic and economic recession. Now the region is being hit hard by the COVID-19 Delta variant while many advanced economies are on the path to economic recovery. The disease is damaging the economy and is unlikely to disappear in the foreseeable future. In the near term, the persistence of the pandemic will prolong human and economic distress unless individuals and firms can adapt. In the longer term, COVID-19 will reduce growth and increase inequality unless the scars are remedied and the opportunities grasped. Policy action must help economic agents to adjust today and make choices that avert deceleration and disparity tomorrow.
  • Publication
    World Bank East Asia and Pacific Economic Update, April 2021: Uneven Recovery
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-03-25) World Bank
    A year after the first case was confirmed in Wuhan COVID-19 is proving hard to suppress even, while the emergence of more transmissible variants of the variant poses new challenges to the containment of the disease globally. The economies of the region began to bounce back in the second half of 2020. However, only China and Vietnam have followed a V-shape recovery path with output surpassing pre-COVID-19 levels. Most of the other countries have not seen a full-fledged recovery in terms of either output or growth momentum. Economic performance across countries continues to depend on (i) the efficiency with which the virus is contained; (ii) the ability to take advantage of the revival in international goods trade; and (iii) the capacity of governments to provide fiscal and monetary support. China and Vietnam are expected to enjoy strong growth in 2021, whereas other economies in the region will grow more gradually. Many economies, especially in the Pacific islands are not expected to reach pre-COVID-19 levels of output until 2022 or later. Governments in the region need to work cooperatively to address three key issues: (i) a regional and global distribution of vaccines that minimizes the risk of a continued spread of COVID-19 and its variants; (ii) continue to provide economic support to their economies while carefully evaluating the trade-offs between the need for further stimulus and debt sustainability; and (iii) enact policies and prioritize investments that protect against climate risk to ensure sustainable economic growth.
  • Publication
    World Bank East Asia and Pacific Economic Update, October 2020: From Containment to Recovery
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020-09-28) World Bank
    COVID-19 has delivered a triple shock to the developing East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region: the pandemic itself, the economic impact of containment measures, and reverberations from the global recession. Without action on multiple fronts, the pandemic could reduce regional growth over the next decade by 1 percentage point per year, with the greatest impacts being felt by poor households, because of lower levels of access to healthcare, education, jobs, and finance. Why were many economies in the region able to contain the disease while some others still struggle? How have these shocks affected economic activity and poverty in different countries? What are the prospects for recovery and how will longer term growth be affected across the region? Is there a tension between containing the disease and providing relief today and promoting recovery and growth tomorrow? These key questions are addressed in the World Bank’s October 2020 EAP Economic Update.
  • Publication
    World Bank East Asia and Pacific Economic Update, April 2020: East Asia and Pacific in the Time of COVID-19
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020-03-30) World Bank
    The COVID-19 virus that triggered a supply shock in China has now caused a global shock. Developing economies in East Asia and the Pacific (EAP), recovering from a trade war and struggling with a viral disease, now face the prospect of a global financial shock and recession. Significant economic pain seems unavoidable in all countries and the risk of financial instability is high, especially in countries with excessive private indebtedness. Several economies are expected to contract in 2020, which will lead to an increase in the poverty rate. Households linked to affected sectors will suffer more. To deal with this crisis, countries need to act fast and decisively to contain the spread of infection, while expanding capacity both to treat people and to test and trace infections. Fiscal measures should provide social protection to cushion against shocks, especially for the most economically vulnerable. Firms will need liquidity injections to help them stay in business and maintain beneficial links to Global Value Chains. The optimal economic policy response will change over time and depend on the precise nature and evolution of the shock. Given the unprecedented nature of the economic shock to each country, and the fact that it is also affecting all other countries in the region and beyond, an exceptional policy response is needed.