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Hong Kong: Standard & Poor’s Global warned Friday that the new Corona virus could cause more than $ 200 billion in losses to the Asia-Pacific economies this year, pushing growth to its lowest levels in more than a decade at a time when governments are working hard to fight the epidemic.
In the worst case scenario, China may experience less than 3 percent growth, while Japan, Australia and Hong Kong may face a recession risk, according to the agency’s report.
Fears of the consequences of the spread of the disease, which has spread in at least 85 countries since it appeared in China in late December, caused global markets to decline, as investors worried about its economic repercussions.
Standard & Poor’s said it expects the region to grow 4.0 percent this year at a time when supply and demand shocks have caused a $ 211 billion gap in the economy. The latest figure is compared to an estimate of 4.8 percent growth released in December and the worst performance for the region since the 2008 global financial crisis.
“The outlook for the Asia Pacific region is further darkened by the outbreak of the newly created Corona virus. This will cause shocks to domestic supply and demand in Japan and Korea. This will mean further weakening external demand from the United States and Europe,” the agency said.
The report pointed out that economies are suffering a double blow due to the decline in demand at a time when consumers are obliging their homes for fear of infection, while supplies have declined due to the closure of factories.
He predicted that the Chinese economy, which was already facing difficulties even before the virus crisis, will grow by 4.8 percent this year – the worst rate in three decades.
But, he added, in the worst cases, “on imposing local casualties as people return to work and re-impose some restrictions on activity”, the growth may decline to only 2.9 percent. Hong Kong’s economy, which experienced its first recession last year since 2008, is expected to shrink further.
Along with Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, the city will be the most affected, as the hit tourism sector contributes to more than ten percent of growth. However, “Standard & Poor’s” confirmed that economies will likely see a recovery later.
“The recovery is likely to be delayed until the third quarter, if there are indications by the second quarter that the virus has been contained globally,” the report said.
“We assume that the Corona virus will not permanently disrupt the workforce or the stock of capital or production, and therefore the economies of the region are supposed to occupy the same number of people and the same productive capacity by the end of 2021 as they would have done in the absence of the virus,” he added.
The Asian Development Bank also reported on Friday that it expects China to experience a decline of $ 103 billion, or 0.8 percentage points in its gross domestic product, while losses could reach $ 22 billion or 0.2 percentage points for other developing economies in the region.
The bank said in a statement that “the magnitude of the economic losses will depend on the development of the spread of the disease, which remains highly foggy.”
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