by Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star), 7 Jan 2021
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is likely to be the last country in Asia-Pacific to fully recover from the pandemic-induced recession, with recovery seen only in the fourth quarter of 2022 while other economies are set to regain all of their lost output by the end of this year, according to Moody’s Analytics.
In a report, Moody’s Analytics chief economist Steven Cochrane said the Philippines and India are expected to struggle due to their deep recession and uncertain fiscal support of their policymakers.
The research arm of Moody’s sees the Philippines fully recovering by the fourth quarter of next year and India in the first quarter of next year.
As varied as the impact of the pandemic recession has been this year across the region, so is the pattern of recovery and ultimate economic expansion. China, Taiwan and Vietnam have already recovered their lost output and are expected to enjoy further expansion in the year ahead.
On the other hand, Hong Kong, Korea, Indonesia, Australia and Thailand are expected to complete recovery by the middle of 2021.
“The depth of the COVID-19 recession in 2020 was quite varied across the Asia-Pacific region,” Cochrane said.
According to Moody’s Analytics, the gross domestic product of the Philippines and Malaysia shrank between 15 and 20 percent in the third quarter, while India was the hardest hit economy, with its GDP contracting nearly 25 percent in the first half of last year.
Moody’s Analytics sees the Philippine economy starting to recover with a GDP growth of 4.5 percent this year and 6.2 percent in 2022 after contracting by about 9.9 percent in 2020.
The Philippines booked the biggest GDP contraction in Asia-Pacific last year followed by India with 8.8 percent, Thailand with 6.1 percent, Singapore with six percent, Hong Kong with 5.9 percent, Japan with 5.3 percent, New Zealand with five percent, Malaysia with 4.6 percent, Australia with 2.5 percent, Indonesia with 2.3 percent, and South Korea with one percent.
The only countries in the region that booked GDP growth last year include Vietnam and Taiwan with 2.7 percent as well as China with 2.4 percent.
“The Philippines struggled with the coronavirus but has managed to cut its daily case count in recent months,” Cochrane said.
Cochrane noted the Philippines and India are the least committed to fiscal stimulus despite being the hardest hit economies by the pandemic and the lengthy and strict quarantine policies.
He said the Philippines also lags in the procurement process while major countries in the region have already secured COVID-19 vaccines from manufacturers.
“An important exception is the Philippines, which has made little progress so far,” he said.