Regional leaders see recovery momentum

Regional leaders see recovery momentum

Asean, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the IMF have agreed economic prospects in this region and the world are expected to see a rapid recovery following global inoculations.

Kulaya Tantitemit, the Finance Ministry's spokeswoman, said a joint virtual meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from Asean, China, Japan and South Korea (Asean+3) held yesterday project an economic rebound in 2021.

The update was reported by the Asean+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO), the ADB and IMF.

The three organisations believe economic recovery is gathering momentum and vaccine rollouts will allow a gradual opening up of economies, even as the rebound appears uneven across and within countries.

The recovery is subject to elevated downside risks, including the spread of new variants of the Covid-19 virus and different paces of vaccination, said Ms Kulaya.

The meeting claimed the Asean+3 region has been resilient during the pandemic, despite the differing impact across the region.

Home to 30% of the world's population, the region accounts for under 3% of around 150 million Covid-19 infections globally, a result of strict but judicious applications of both blanket and targeted containment measures during the past year, said the trio.

Wide-ranging policies to support households, businesses and the financial sector saw the region contract moderately by 0.2% in 2020, with five Asean+3 economies posting positive growth, said AMRO.

Ms Kulaya said the IMF projects global economic growth of 6% this year and 4% in 2022, while AMRO forecast Asean+3 expansion of 6.7% in 2021 and 4.9% in 2022.

Thailand's economy is expected to grow by 2.3% this year and 4.8% next year.

She said the three organisations proposed similar policy recommendations for the pandemic in the region: focus on ensuring vaccines will be available quickly for everyone; promote digital transformation; support domestic resources; improve tax systems and encourage tax collaboration; and advance a green economy.

Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, who participated in the meeting, said he proposed an Asean+3 sustainability bond to raise proceeds to finance environmentally-friendly investment projects in the bloc.

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