Sultanate’s economic growth projected at 3.2pc in 2021

Azlan Othman

The COVID-19 pandemic is still unfolding around the globe. In Asia, as elsewhere, the virus ebbs in some countries but surges in others.

The global economy is beginning to recover after a sharp contraction in the second quarter of 2020, as nationwide lockdowns are lifted and replaced with more targetted containment measures, according to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) October regional economic outlook.

The IMF projected Brunei Darussalam’s economic growth to be 0.1 per cent this year and 3.2 per cent next year.

Global growth has been revised up since the June 2020 World Economic Outlook (WEO) Update to −4.4 per cent in 2020, because of better-than-expected second quarter outturns in some major countries where activities began to improve sooner than expected after lockdowns were scaled back.

In 2021, global growth is projected at 5.2 per cent, a little lower than the previous estimate, which is consistent with the expectation that social distancing will persist into 2021 and fade thereafter.

The Asia and Pacific region is also starting to recover tentatively, but at multiple speeds. Economic activity is expected to contract by 2.2 per cent in 2020, due to a sharper-than- expected downturn in key emerging markets, and to grow by 6.9 per cent in 2021 – 0.6 percentage point lower and 0.3 percentage point higher, respectively, than in the June 2020
WEO Update.

The outlook varies by country depending on infection rates and containment measures, the scale and effectiveness of the policy response, reliance on contact-intensive activities, and reliance on external demand.

In parts of Asia, where virus transmission rates are low, mobility and activity could normalise faster than elsewhere.

The COVID-19 pandemic plunged the world into a sharp recession in the first half of 2020. Service sector activity, which relies on person-to-person contact, took a big hit.

Manufacturing also weakened substantially, and global trade plummeted.

Global growth is projected at –4.4 per cent in 2020, 0.6 percentage points above the June 2020 WEO Update forecast. The update reflects a better second quarter outturn in major countries that eased lockdowns earlier than expected.

The recovery is projected to be more gradual than previously forecast. In 2021, global growth is projected at 5.2 per cent, 0.3 percentage point lower than projected in June 2020, reflecting the persistence of social distancing into 2021.