Moody’s Analytics calls PH as ‘laggard’ in Asia

Published April 19, 2021, 2:56 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Philippines is lagging behind in Asia’s economic recovery due to the sharp surge in coronavirus infections, resumption of strict lockdowns in Metro Manila, and a severe shortage of vaccines, Moody’s Analytics said.

The research arm of debt-watcher Moody’s Investors Service said on Monday, April 19, that Asia is currently heading to the economic recovery, but the pace is far from evenly distributed across the region, particularly in the Philippines. 

Moody’s Analytics said that Mainland China, Taiwan, Vietnam and New Zealand are leading the Asia’s recovery, while Indonesia and Thailand economics are still struggling with the coronavirus and a slow vaccination pace.

In the case of the Philippines, Moody’s Analytics noted in a report authored by its Asia Pacific Chief Economist Steven G. Cochrane that it is the “laggard of the entire region.”

“The lack of control of the pandemic, the inability to acquire vaccines, and the relative distance from export supply chains all factor into the outlook for the Philippines to be among the weakest in the region,” the report stated.

Over the past weeks, the Philippines’ vaccination rollout has not been widespread with less than two million of its populations have been inoculated. The nation also saw its worst coronavirus surge with recent daily tally averaging more than 10,000.

Along with India, Moody’s Analytics added that inflation in the Philippines is also running relatively high, which remained above the government’s target of up to 4.0 percent in March.

“Given the resurgence of new COVID-19 cases—record highs in both countries over the past month—India and the

Philippines are at greatest risk of underperforming during the coming year,” the company said.

Moody’s Analytics, likewise, excluded the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia from countries in the Asia Pacific region that have “a good chance” of seeing their personal income rebounding by mid-2021.

Even by end of this year, Moody’s Analytics noted that the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia will likely struggle to reach a “milestone” in the their economic recovery.

“As mentioned, there is much uncertainty about the outlook for the Philippines,” the company said.

In term of managing the spread of COVID-19, Moody’s Analytics commented that the situation in the Philippines is “dire.”

The research firm said the country had struggled to contain the virus last year, could not bring the caseload down appreciably, and is now suffering under a new peak caseload. The OCTA Research group is projecting that the Philippines may hit one million COVID-19 caseload by the end of April.