PH economy second worst performing in ASEAN—AMRO

Published September 24, 2020, 3:37 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) expects the Philippines to be the second-worst performing economy in the region this year as the coronavirus pandemic takes a heavier toll on the country.

In a note sent to reporters on Thursday, AMRO further lowered its gross domestic product (GDP) forecast for the Philippines in 2020 from an August projection of -6.6 percent to a revised -7.6 percent.

AMRO forecasts that Thailand will be the hardest hit economy by COVID-19 in ASEAN with a 7.8 percent contraction, followed by the Philippines, Singapore with -6.0 percent, Malaysia with -5.5 percent, Cambodia with -4.5 percent, and Indonesia with -1.7 percent.

Vietnam, meanwhile, is projected to be the top performing economy in the region with a positive growth of 3.1 percent, followed by Brunei with 1.6 percent, Myanmar with 1.1 percent and Laos with 0.5 percent.

In AMRO’s August economic forecast, it had expected the Philippines to be the third worst performing economy in ASEAN behind Thailand and Singapore.

Meanwhile, AMRO expects the Philippine economy will return to a positive growth trajectory with GDP rate 6.6 percent in 2021.

However, AMRO’s 2021 forecast for the Philippines lagged behind Malaysia’s 9.0 percent, Singapore’s 7.5 percent, and Vietnam with 7.0 percent.

But the Philippine economy is expected to outperform Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, and Brunei in 2021, as AMRO expects them to grow by 6.2 percent, 5.4 percent, 5.1 percent, 4.6 percent, and 3.1 percent, respectively.

“The region [ASEAN+3] has been severely affected by containment measures, and growth is forecast to decline by 0.3 percent in 2020. Nine of our 14 members are expected to contract this year, some very significantly,” AMRO said.

ASEAN+3 is composed of the Southeast Asian nations plus China including Hong Kong, Japan and Korea.

For ASEAN alone, AMRO forecasts its GDP to contract by 3.3 percent this year and recover by 6.0 percent in 2021.

AMRO also expect a strong “V-shaped” recovery in the ASEAN GDP growth in 2021.

“We are projecting a strong V-shaped recovery in GDP growth in 2021, particularly for the Plus-3,” AMRO said.

“The region as a whole is projected to expand at 6.7 percent, with all economies forecast to return to positive growth—predicated on the effective containment of the pandemic, both regionally and globally, and on the assumption that exits from policy measures proceed smoothly,” it added.