Updated: Mar 11
Southeast Asian economies aim to regain their growth momentum as before the Covid-19 pandemic by 2021. However, there are still many remaining risks from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the Vietnamese economy grew by 2.91 percent in 2020.
This year, the Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR) forecast that the Vietnam economy could grow by 5.8%, based on the scenario that the Covid-19 outbreak in the country is under control in the remaining months and the domestic economy gradually resumes normality. This is the highest forecasted growth rate of all Southeast Asian countries. However, this growth rate would be lower than the government’s 6.5 percent target.
On the other hand, the Institute estimated the GDP growth at only 1.8 percent should the new Covid-19 outbreak increase in severity and disrupt domestic economic activities.
Before the pandemic, Southeast Asia was one of the most active regions in the world with an average GDP growth rate of about 5% for several years. It is also an attractive investment destination, with a relatively young population driving the demand and providing more workers to productive activities.
Currently, Indonesia has the most infection in the region. Its GDP is expected to recover to a 4.5-5.5% growth rate in 2021, after dropping 2.1% in 2020. In January, the government initiated a major vaccination program for 181 million citizens by March 2021, equal to 70% of the total country's population.
Singapore recently released the data on GDP growth forecast at 4-6% in 2021, the same forecast as in November 2020. Singapore experienced the worst 5.8% record last year - the lowest rate since the nation became independent in 1965.
Thailand suffers from heavy losses of global tourism on popular resort destinations. The government adjusted its GDP growth forecast for 2021 to 2.5-3.5% from a previous forecast of 3.5-4.5% in November 2020.
The Central Bank of Malaysia has not released its 2021 economic growth forecast. Last year, Malaysia's GDP fell by 5.6% - the worst result since the Asian financial crisis in 1998.
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