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IMF sees Cambodia registering a combined GDP growth of one percent this year and to expand to 8.5 percent in 2021

Containers attacked at the Sihanoukville autonomous port. Radical policies are needed to kick start the four pillars of Cambodia’s economy. Khmer Times

The International  Monetary Fund (IMF)said that the outlook for some Asia Pacific countries were much brighter, including Cambodia which is forecasted to have a nominal combined GDP projected growth of  1.0 percent this year before surging 8.5 percent next year.

A Phnom Penh based investment and financial consultant said that for Cambodia to achieve the projected 8.5 percent growth in 2021, though rather optimistic, could nevertheless be achieved if the Government were to take proactive radical measures to kick start the economy.

This includes revisiting some tax regimes which calls for prepayment of taxes, easing some laws which impede the construction and real estate sector and pump priming the economy with real economic stimulus.

“In other words, people are out of jobs, businesses are folding and the government must find ways to put cash into consumers hands to stimulate demand and growth of manufacturing,” the consultant said.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects economic activity in the Asia-Pacific region to stagnate this year before bouncing back next year with GDP rebounding by more than 7 percent.

“Emerging Asia is projected to be the only region with a positive growth rate in 2020,” the outlook said.

Among five economies in ASEAN, Vietnam is projected to have the fastest growth (2.7 percent).

But economic activity is forecast to be slower in the Philippines (0.6 percent) and Indonesia (0.5 percent) and to shrink in Thailand (minus 6.7 percent) and Malaysia (minus 1.7 percent). The outlook did not include separate projections for Brunei, Cambodia, Laos or Myanmar.

Elsewhere in the region, continued economic expansion — albeit at a sharply reduced pace — is projected this year for India (1.9 percent) and China (1.2 percent).

Overall, GDP in advanced, emerging and developing economies in the Asia Pacific is projected to stagnate this year with zero growth — down from 4.6 percent last year.

In 2021, however, the IMF said regional growth was expected to bounce back 7.6 percent. That compares with a global rebound projected at 5.8 percent following a contraction of 3.0 percent this year.

IMF economic counsellor Gita Gopinath said the global recovery would be accompanied by above-trend growth rates.

“But the level of GDP will remain below the pre-virus trend, with considerable uncertainty about the strength of the rebound,” the Indian economist said.

“Much worse growth outcomes are possible and maybe even likely,” she warned.

The IMF said the COVID-19 pandemic was having a “severe impact on economic activity” worldwide.

In advanced Asia-Pacific economies, the outlook projected GDP to shrink 4.5 percent this year, reversing an expansion of 1.2 percent last year. Economic activity is expected to recover in 2021 with 3.8 percent growth.

“This crisis is like no other,” IMF economic counsellor Gita Gopinath said in a foreword to the outlook, which projects global output to shrink 3.0 percent this year.

“It is very likely that this year the global economy will experience its worst recession since the Great Depression,” she said, referring to the contraction in the 1930s that followed the Wall Street crash of 1929.

Contractions in advanced Asia-Pacific economies this year are expected to be particularly acute in Macao (minus 29.6 percent), New Zealand (minus 7.2 percent) and Australia (minus 6.7 percent).

Smaller contractions are projected for Japan (minus 5.2 percent), Hong Kong (minus 4.8 percent), Taiwan (minus 4.0 percent), Singapore (minus 3.5 percent) and South Korea (minus 1.2 percent).  Sao Da/AKP/Khmer Times

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