MANILA — The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Policy Support Unit (PSU) has released its statement on Monday regarding the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and its impact to the region’s economy.
The APEC-PSU said the current sentiments of consumers and investors amid the virus outbreak could translate into “significant economic and financial risks” in the Asia Pacific.
Although the APEC unit said it is still early to quantify Covid-19’s effect on region’s economy, it said the impact is larger than the experience during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) 18 years ago.
“The world today is a different arena. China accounts for 21.4 percent of world GDP (gross domestic product) compared to around 4.5 percent during the SARS outbreak,” it said.
As the global supply chain and economy are deeper and more interconnected, the epidemic amplifies the already-fragile global economic environment due to trade tensions, Brexit, and environmental catastrophes in the region, the APEC-PSU added.
“There is already an observed decline in travel and tourism. An associated adverse impact on retail and hospitality receipts as well as transport sales are expected to reverberate around the world,” it said.
But the APEC-PSU further said the region’s learning from the SARS experience is that the Asia Pacific can bounce back in this challenge as long as economies cooperate and introduce the right measures.
“Authorities must start thinking about the long term to minimize lasting harm to the economy and society alike. During this time of heightened uncertainty, monetary and fiscal authorities could consider maintaining accommodative policies to support economic growth. In the medium to long-term periods, economies could look at structural reforms that ensure immediate action by governments, build stronger healthcare systems, and allocate resources for research and surveillance of infectious diseases,” the APEC-PSU said.
APEC is composed of 21 member-economies, including the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. (IA/sovereignph.com/PNA)