The screenshot of an online Symposium on Asian Development: Prospects and Challenges hosted by Boao Forum of Asia on May 8
The Asian economy is facing short-term pressures from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak and persisting unilateralism and protectionism, while in the long term, the slowdown in production activities will put pressure on profits, which in turn will inhibit investment, said a report issued by the Boao Forum of Asia (BFA) on May 8.
If the pandemic is mitigated in the second half of the year, Asia's growth rate might still be positive. But if it recurs or the stimulus policies turn out to be ineffective, there is still a possibility for the Asian economy to contract, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the duration of the pandemic, continuing trade frictions, accumulation of financial risks especially debt risks, negative interest rates in developed economies, geo-political conflicts, social instability and crude oil prices would be important determinants of Asian economic development in the coming years.
Vice Chairman of BFA Zhou Xiaochuan delivers opening speech during the symposium on May 8
"The key to economic policies is to provide basic social security and mitigate the debt burden. Some kind of 'put-on-hold' policy arrangements can be considered," Vice Chairman of BFA Zhou Xiaochuan said in the opening remarks at the Symposium on Asian Development Prospects and Challenges hosted by the BFA on May 8.
He also suggested the international community to be vigilant against risks of inward-looking policies in some countries, unstable global supply chain and escalating trade frictions.
"The destiny of all countries is bound together. As long as the international community overcomes fear and fights together, we will eventually win the battle," Zhou said.
"This global pandemic is a wake-up call for the international community to act in concert to fight this common enemy and to build a safer world," former Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Wong Kan Seng said. "We need to keep an open and sustainable global supply chain, ensuring free trade of goods and services."
"The outbreak of the COVID-19 has caused the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, and has had a severe impact on society and politics," said BFA Secretary General Li Baodong. "All stakeholders should join hands and face the challenges together. Finger pointing and politicization will divide the global community and put the international joint efforts in jeopardy."
Zhou also said that Asian economies have strong resilience. "They will continue to play the role of global growth engines during and after the pandemic."
Intra-regional integration of trade has been progressing, the production capacity within Asia has not been severely affected by trade conflicts, the distribution of competitive advantages of the three world factories remains relatively stable, and Asian investors are more inclined to invest within the region. If equipped with a cross-border disease control mechanism within and outside Asia, the world can better tackle the challenges of the coronavirus and other public health crises, according to the report.
Copyedited by Madhusudan Chaubey
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