Economic growth in Asia is expected to hit 7.3% this year, supported by the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and a robust global recovery, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said in its new report published on Wednesday.
The forecast, contained in the bank's flagship Asian Development Outlook economic report, is higher than the 6.8% it made in December. The ADB estimates that the region's economies contracted by 0.2% last year due to coronavirus.
The ADB expects Asia’s GDP growth to moderate to 5.3% in 2022.
The ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said “strong recoveries in China and India” will aid the economic recovery in Asia. The report predicted China’s economy to grow 8.1%, India - 11%, and Bangladesh - 6.8% this year.
China was the only major country to record economic growth in 2020, at 2.3%.
“Growth is gaining momentum across developing Asia, but renewed COVID-19 outbreaks show the pandemic is still a threat,” ADB Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada said in the report.
ADB said growth will resume in Central Asia as rising world commodity prices trigger economic activity. Central Asian economies are forecast to grow 3.4% on average this year and 4% next year.
The ADB's forecasts span central Asia to the Pacific islands, excluding the region's sole major developed economy Japan. The U.S. and Japan are the largest shareholders in the Philippines-based ADB, which lends to social and economic projects in the region.