Tokyo (UNA-OIC) – As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the East Asia and Pacific region as well as China are projected to grow by only 0.9 percent in 2020, the lowest rate since 1967, the World Bank said in an economic update on Monday.
Growth in China was expected to come in at 2 percent this year, boosted by government spending, strong exports, and a low rate of new coronavirus infections since March, but held back by slow domestic consumption.
The rest of the East Asia and Pacific region was projected to see a 3.5 percent contraction, and the economic shock of the pandemic was also expected to lead to a jump in poverty, defined as income of $5.50 a day, the bank said, adding that based on past experience and the latest gross domestic product forecasts, poverty could expand by 33 million to 38 million people to see its first rise in 20 years.
The bank said that 33 million people who would have in the absence of the pandemic escaped poverty would remain in it this year.
“The region is confronted with an unprecedented set of challenges,” said Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank’s Vice President for East Asia Pacific.