Brunei economy seen growing 2.5pc next year

Azlan Othman

Brunei Darussalam is one of three Asean economies which expanded last year, with a 1.2-per-cent economic growth.

The other two countries are Myanmar (3.2 per cent) and Vietnam (2.9 per cent).

The Sultanate is forecast to grow by 1.6 per cent this year, 2.5 per cent next year and 2.2 per cent in 2026, according to a recent report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its World Economic Outlook (WEO) released last week.

The regional economies recording high gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2021 will be the Philippines (6.9 per cent), Malaysia and Vietnam (both 6.5 per cent), Singapore (5.2 per cent), Laos (4.6 per cent), Indonesia (4.3 per cent) and Cambodia (4.2 per cent).

In 2020, some ASEAN economies experienced strong contraction due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic: The Philippines (9.5 per cent), Thailand (6.1 per cent), Malaysia (5.6 per cent), Singapore (5.4 per cent), and Cambodia (3.5 per cent).

Vietnam is forecast to lead the fastest growing ASEAN economies in 2022. The IMF predicted Vietnam’s 2022 economic growth at 7.2 per cent, followed by the Philippines (6.5 per cent), and Malaysia and Cambodia (both six per cent).

Cambodia is forecast to become the fastest growing one in the region in 2026, with a GDP expansion of 6.8 per cent.

Global prospects remain highly uncertain one year into the pandemic.

New virus mutations and the accumulating human toll raise concerns, even as growing vaccine coverage lifts sentiment.

Economic recoveries are diverging across countries and sectors, reflecting variation in pandemic-induced disruptions and the extent of policy support.

The outlook depends not just on the outcome of the battle between the virus and vaccines; it also hinges on how effectively economic policies deployed under high uncertainty can limit lasting damage from this unprecedented crisis.

Global growth is projected at six per cent in 2021, moderating to 4.4 per cent in 2022.

The projections for 2021 and 2022 are stronger than in the October 2020 WEO. The upward revision reflects additional fiscal support in a few large economies, the anticipated vaccine-powered recovery in the second half of 2021, and continued adaptation of economic activity to subdued mobility.

High uncertainty surrounds the outlook, related to the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support to provide a bridge to vaccine-powered normalisation, and the evolution of financial conditions.