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Recovery seen stalled in PH, 2 other Asian countries

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 05:16 AM August 14, 2020

With COVID-19 cases still surging in these three countries, the Philippines, Indonesia and India are seen to lag behind their peers in the region in the move toward economic recovery, according to two UK-based think tanks.

“All three suffered a historic collapse in output in the second quarter, and while there are signs that output bottomed out around April or May, conditions remain very weak,” Gareth Leather, London-based Capital Economics’ senior Asia economist, said in an Aug. 12 report titled “Tracking Asia’s recovery.”

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The Philippines fell into a recession in the first half as gross domestic product (GDP) slid by a record 16.5 percent year-on-year in the second quarter—at the height of the longest and most stringent COVID-19 lockdown in the region.

“The mobility trackers suggest that the recovery may have stalled in all three countries. Failure to contain the virus means restrictions on activity will need to remain in place for longer, which will delay the recovery,” Capital Economics said.

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Metro Manila and four surrounding provinces reverted to a stricter modified enhanced community quarantine on Aug. 4-18 as infections in these areas jumped after three-fourths of the country’s economic activity resumed under less-restrictive general community quarantine in June.

Capital Economics had projected the Philippines’ GDP to drop by 8 percent this year.

Separately, UK-based Oxford Economics said the situation remained precarious in India, Indonesia and the Philippines, “with infections accelerating after restrictions were prematurely relaxed, leading to a pause or reversal of reopening plans.”

“These economies remain highly vulnerable, given weak public health infrastructure and limited fiscal resources,” Oxford Economics head of Asia economics Louis Kuijs and economist Lloyd Chan said in a report titled “Coronavirus resurgence dims some recovery prospects” on Aug. 11.

“Having been problematic for quite some time, the COVID-19 situation has worsened substantially in India, Indonesia and the Philippines,” Oxford Economics said.

In contrast, economies with success in containing the coronavirus outbreak have generally seen workplace mobility return close to normal levels, compared to those that are still reporting elevated numbers of cases, Oxford Economics added.

Oxford Economics said the return to more stringent quarantine led to a “further decline” in workplace mobility in Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, which accounted for half of the Philippine economy.

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Amid a renewed lockdown, it said recovery prospects dimmed in these countries.

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TAGS: Capital Economics, economic recovery
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