Pandemic to keep Asia’s growth at lowest since 1967, warns World Bank

The coronavirus pandemic is expected cause the slowest growth in more than 50 years in East Asia and the Pacific as well as China, while up to 38 million people are set to be pushed back into poverty, the World Bank said in an economic update on Monday.

The bank said the region this year is projected to grow by only 0.9%, the lowest rate since 1967.

Growth in China was expected at 2% this year, boosted by government spending, strong exports and a low rate of new coronavirus infections since March, but held back by slow domestic consumption. The rest of the East Asia and Pacific region was projected to see a 3.5% contraction, the World Bank said. The pandemic and efforts to contain its spread led to a “significant curtailment” of economic activity.

Countries in the region may need to pursue fiscal reform to mobilize revenue in response to the economic and financial impact from the pandemic, while social protection programs can help support workers’ integration back into the economy, the bank said.

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