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A Bullish Outlook for Asia in 2021

Former North America Representative of The Asian Development Bank

There are sound reasons to be upbeat about Asia’s prospects for the coming year. Several countries in the region have managed to subdue COVID-19 and have left the worst behind.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB)预测that China, Taiwan and Vietnam will all register positive growth for 2020, something that will elude allG-20 economies, other than China. Across developing Asia as a whole, ADB expects growth in gross domestic product of around 7% in the coming 12 months.



Bloomberg Newsreportsthat official data from China show that 2020 may be a record year for new foreign investment in the country. Exports have been surprisingly resilient for many Asian countries, due in part to great demand for computers and other IT equipment by professionals working from home.


1. Vaccines Don’t Deliver

Great hope surrounds the various COVID-19 vaccines that were quickly developed and are now being distributed. Many loss-making businesses will not be back in the black until a sizable share of the population is vaccinated, and Asian governments will maintain measures to uphold social distancing and limit mingling with people across borders well into the new year.

This will put a continued damper on the airline and tourism sectors, causing continued pain intourism-dependent economieslike Macau, the Maldives, Thailand and several Pacific island states. India has recorded more than 10 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, second only to the United States, and has not been nearly as successful in containing the virus as other Asian countries.

Developing Asian countries are far behind OECD member countries in the number of pre-ordered vaccine doses. And when people finally get the chance to receive an injection, history shows that not everyone reacts to a vaccine in the same way. Illnesses or deaths attributed, rightly or wrongly, to one of the new COVID-19 vaccines could lead to a pause in delivery. The complex vaccine distribution chain is also vulnerable to a myriad of failings, including intentional disruption by antivaxxers or others seeking to create chaos. With so much riding on the success of this grand effort, effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is the most consequential risk confronting Asia (and the world) in 2021.

2. China and the US Tensions Deepen

President-Elect Joe Biden is expected to maintain his predecessor’s tough stance on China’s trade, subsidies, intellectual property rights protection and other business practices, while more vocally condemning Beijing’s human rights violations and undemocratic practices. Taiwan, Hong Kong and the South China Sea will remain flashpoints.


3. Deprivation Spurs Unrest

The pandemic has wreaked havoc on economies and labor markets and increased poverty, hunger and inequality. World Bank economistsestimatethat COVID-19 could force 164 million people into poverty in South Asia and East Asia and the Pacific. The International Labor Organizationreports危机导致亚洲和太平洋损失了8000多万件工作岗位。


在大流行前,该地区大多数人都在收入不平等的发展中生活。国际货币基金组织warnsthat the ongoing crisis risksexacerbating inequality in the region and is having especially negative impacts on younger workers, women and people who are more vulnerable.

Frustration with authoritarianism, corruption and joblessness, and lack of opportunity, could inflame passions and lead to violent civil disturbances in some Asian countries. Regional research and data show that conditions inSouth Asia and Southeast Asia areripe for social unrest由于损失生计和汇款,由于粮食短缺,价格上涨和收入减少而受到刺激。


The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies hasreported亚太地区在2020年面临着与气候相关灾害的记录数量,影响了大流行困难的数百万脆弱的人。救济机构报告说,它已在该地区今年回复了24个气候相关的事件,比上一年的三分之一。环境事件188bet滚球投注包括洪水,台风,极端寒冷和干旱。



中国明年的大流行和预期增长的出现可能会促进成功的区域和全球反弹。然而,这种有希望的情景受到摇摇欲坠的中国房地产市场的威胁。根据datafrom China’s court system, 228 real estate companies went bust in the first half of this year.

另外,惠誉评级报告称,在2020年1月至10月之间,国有企业在不同的业务范围内违约40 billion yuan ($6.1 billion) worth of bonds- 大约在前两个全年结合的那么多。房地产价格的崩溃,或者在国有企业中加速违约,可以让国内金融体系易受伤害和减缓经济增长的步伐,对整个亚洲的影响。


通过计算机进行的欺诈,盗窃和敲诈勒索已成为私营和公共组织的关注的越来越越来越多。微软有estimatedthat cyberattacks are costing the Asia and Pacific region 7% of its gross domestic product.


7. Developed Countries Stumble

而一些亚洲经济体已经回到李fe, large swaths of Western Europe and North America are struggling to gain control over the deadly virus. The never-ending Brexit saga poses an economic risk not only to the United Kingdom, but also to the European Union.



So long as COVID-19 vaccines are rapidly and widely distributed — and prove to be as effective as early testing has shown — the accompanying rise in the confidence of consumers, businesses and investors would likely overwhelm the potential impact of other risks to Asia’s rebound.

Bart Édes

Former North America Representative of The Asian Development Bank @Bartapest


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