Surge in COVID-19 cases dims Asean-6 growth prospects
With a surge in COVID-19 infections across the region, economic prospects in Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus 6 (Asean-6), including the Philippines, have turned weaker during the current third quarter, UK-based think tank Oxford Economics said Friday.
“Our growth tracker confirms that economic momentum slowed for Asean-6 economies in July. We expect growth to deteriorate further in the near term as tight restrictions in several Asean economies will weigh on activity,” Oxford Economics senior economist Sung Eun Jung said in a report.
Besides the Philippines, Asean-6 included Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Throughout the region, “exports and industrial production continued to contribute positively to our tracker, but to a lesser extent than earlier this year,” Oxford Economics said.
“Retail sales dragged on growth across the region in July after a brief rebound,” it added.
Oxford Economics attributed the less rosy regional outlook to the recent COVID-19 outbreaks in these countries, which weighed on their economic recovery.
“A surge in COVID-19 cases in the region led to renewed anxiety and tighter government-imposed restrictions from June onwards. Restrictions were either tightened or extended into August for most Asean-6 economies, and daily infections are still rising rapidly in Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam,” it said.
Oxford Economics expects Asean-6 as a whole to grow by 2.7 percent year-on-year during the third quarter.
In the case of the Philippines, Oxford Economics noted that mobility restrictions were further tightened in August amid the threat from COVID-19’s more infectious Delta variant.
“The strong end to the second quarter with a significant rebound in industrial production in June is unlikely to continue into the third quarter. Therefore, we expect a sharp reversal in the Philippines’ growth tracker in August,” Oxford Economics said.
—Ben O. de Vera
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