APEC GDP set to grow 6.3% in 2021 as vaccines fuel optimism


The combined gross domestic product of the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation member economies is expected to grow 6.3% this year, from a 1.9% decline in 2020 to gradually reopening as COVID-19 vaccines are released. optimistic, an APEC report showed.

The organization’s policy support unit said GDP is being pushed up by “pent-up demand triggered after a year of moderate spending,” but cited an “uneven recovery” largely due to “differences access and availability of vaccines “in the region.

Photo shows syringes and vials for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna Inc. (Kyodo)

The unit predicts that the region’s growth will persist into 2022 and 2023, but at a more moderate pace of 4.4% and 3.4%, respectively, according to the report.

“The region continues to face significant uncertainties, largely related to the course of the pandemic, while job losses due to the pandemic and expectations of rising inflation this year could exceed spending by consumption, ”said Denis Hew, director of the unit.

The report says the 1.9% contraction last year was lower than the 2.7% drop projected a year ago as member economies, like the United States, China and Japan, stepped up. fiscal stimulus and monetary easing.

The report was released ahead of a virtual meeting of APEC trade ministers scheduled for June 5, where responding to the pandemic through trade is expected to be high on the agenda.

Ministers are likely to focus on ways to ensure open markets, enable the safe and efficient distribution of vaccines and steer the region towards economic recovery while reaffirming their commitment to the multilateral trading system, according to the Secretariat. of APEC.

The report says confirmed vaccine purchases range from as low as 40 percent of the population to nearly 800 percent among APEC members.

With a population of around 125 million, Japan currently has agreements to receive 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna Inc. by September, 120 million doses of AstraZeneca Plc, and 194 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna Inc. doses of Pfizer Inc.

The COVID-19 pandemic has weakened trade, with countries closing their borders, disruptions in global supply chains and sharp reductions in aggregate demand, leading to a contraction in the volume of merchandise exports by 2.6% and of imports, 5.7%, last year, the report showed.

The value of merchandise trade remained in negative territory in 2020 compared to the 2019 level, with exports declining by 4.7% and imports by 6.3%.

It was better compared to the rest of the world, which recorded a 10.3% drop in the value of merchandise exports, while merchandise imports also contracted by 9.0%.

The 21 APEC economies are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

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