How are countries in developing Asia responding to COVID-19? | by Jesson Pagaduan | Sep, 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly hit quite a lot of economies internationally, with world affect estimated between USD 6.1 trillion and USD 9.1 trillion, an identical to a lack of 7.1% to 10.5% of world gross home product (GDP).[1] More than one-fifth of the worldwide loss accrues to developing Asian economies, the place the affect may value up to USD 2 trillion, equivalent to 8.5% of developing Asia’s GDP. To struggle the hostile results of outbreak-induced financial crises, government in the area have designed coverage responses to beef up families, companies and different sectors.

This article appears on the COVID-19 coverage responses in developing Asia and is arranged as follows:

  1. The knowledge set
  2. Size and distribution of coverage reaction programs
  3. Measures to supply direct beef up to revenue
  4. Other measures
  5. How does the Philippines fare in opposition to others?
  6. Conclusion

The knowledge set

Data used in this research come from the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) COVID-19 Policy Database, which collects knowledge on financial measures taken and financial quantities introduced or estimated by government in developing Asia in reaction to COVID-19.[2] Policy movements are labeled into 5 varieties: a) beef up the traditional functioning of cash markets; b) inspire personal credit score advent; c) supply direct long-term lending to nonfinancial sector; d) fairness claims at the personal sector; and e) supply direct beef up to revenue of families and companies.

Size and distribution of coverage reaction programs

Figure 1. East Asia dominates the area in phrases of dimension of programs. Image by the creator.

East Asia has the largest coverage reaction package deal amounting to USD 2.Eight trillion, greater than 3 times the mixed quantity of the remainder of the area (Figure 1). Relative to GDP, East Asian countries are additionally above par in opposition to others with programs an identical to 21.5% of GDP on reasonable.

The biggest stimuli in the area come from countries in East and Southeast Asia, in addition to India. China tops the record with USD 2.Four trillion, which is an identical to virtually 90% of the entire reaction in East Asia (Figure 2). India’s package deal comes subsequent at USD 363 billion, adopted by South Korea with USD 235 billion. In phrases of percentage in GDP, Hong Kong’s USD 192 billion-response is very large accounting for greater than part of its GDP. Singapore’s reaction is an identical to 25.4% of its GDP, whilst Malaysia 21.5%.

Figure 2. China’s package deal maximum monumental; largest programs come from East and Southeast Asia, India. Image by the creator.

There are some transparent variations in the magnitude of programs as percentage in GDP throughout or even inside sub areas (Figure 3). East Asia, for instance, has an interquartile vary of 14% to 17%, whilst Central and West Asia has 0.2% to 5%. Within sub areas, the difference is maximum pronounced for countries in Southeast Asia starting from 0.04% (Lao PDR) to 25% (Singapore). The Pacific, then again, generally tend to have much less heterogeneity at under or equivalent to 10% of GDP, with Marshall Islands as an exception. Other outliers come with Hong Kong and Taiwan for East Asia and Kazakhstan and Georgia for Central and West Asia.

Figure 3. There is sizable variation in the scale of programs throughout and inside sub areas. Image by the creator.

Measures to supply direct beef up to revenue

Figure 4. Policy responses are principally devoted to offering direct beef up to revenue. Image by the creator.

Providing direct beef up to revenue of families and companies seems crucial purpose of programs in the area (Figure 4). The entire block devoted USD 1.Nine trillion for measures akin to in-kind and money transfers to low-income families, insurance policy for scientific entrance liners, and salary beef up for low-wage staff. In in step with capita phrases, Singapore supplies essentially the most beneficiant beef up to revenue doling out greater than USD 9,000 in step with particular person, adopted by Hong Kong at greater than USD 5,000 in step with particular person (Figure 5). In the Philippines, in the meantime, revenue beef up quantities to not up to 100 greenbacks in step with particular person.

Figure 5. Singapore and Hong Kong are essentially the most beneficiant to supply revenue beef up. Image by the creator.

Other measures

In addition to offering revenue beef up, government additionally put significance on making sure standard functioning of cash markets, encouraging personal credit score advent, and providing direct long-term lending to families and companies (Figure 6). Measures to acquire equities in the non-public sector, then again, play much less position in many programs in the area.

Figure 6. Measures followed by government range in accordance to its impact on monetary techniques, earning and debt. Image by the creator.

All economies in East Asia have devoted vital funds for measures that supply liquidity beef up (Figure 7). Hong Kong is notable with virtually 70% of its overall package deal accounted for by expanding banking sector’s liquidity, encouraging banks to deploy extra versatile liquidity buffers, and easing interbank investment prerequisites. About one-fifth of China’s coverage reaction is meant to increase lending amenities to support producers of scientific provides and day by day must haves, micro-, small- and medium-sized corporations, and staff in the rural sector.

Figure 7. East Asian economies supply liquidity beef up. Image by the creator.

In South Asia, secondary marketplace purchases of securities, rate of interest discounts, and mortgage promises account for a sizeable percentage of overall programs (Figure 8). The entire package deal of Nepal, for instance, is composed of a USD 2 billion refinancing fund to supply backed credit score for banks prepared to lend at a concessional charge to precedence sectors together with small and medium enterprises (SME). In Sri Lanka, about two-fifths of the package deal is meant to enforce new credit score schemes to beef up lending to building and different trade segments significantly hit by the pandemic.

Figure 8. Authorities in South Asia inspire personal credit score advent. Image by the creator.

Long-term direct loans to companies and families, number one marketplace purchases of personal debt securities with long-term maturities, in addition to forbearance are measures outstanding in many programs in Southeast Asia (Figure 9). Brunei’s package deal is composed of a USD 320 billion stimulus, an identical to 2.6% of GDP, to prolong deferment on main bills of loans to all sectors. More than 70% of Myanmar’s reaction is accounted for by a USD 71 million fund to supply cushy loans clothes and tourism sectors, in addition to SMEs, at lowered rates of interest.

Figure 9. Southeast Asian countries spice up long-term direct lending to companies and families. Image by the creator.

How does the Philippines fare in opposition to others?

The Philippines has allocated USD 21 billion, an identical to 5.Nine of GDP, for COVID-19 coverage reaction, about part of which, or 2.9% of GDP, is composed of an emergency subsidy program for 18 million low-income households in the casual sector, salary subsidy for staff of small companies, and help finances for native governments, amongst others (Figure 10). A considerable USD 5.2 billion further liquidity, equivalent to 1.5% of GDP, additionally accounts for a sizeable portion of the rustic’s stimulus. Measures below offering liquidity beef up come with discounts in the reserve requirement ratio for SMEs and big enterprises.

Figure 10. The Philippines’ COVID-19 coverage reaction combine. Image by the creator.

Despite efforts to push govt spending regardless that, Philippine figures nonetheless lag friends in Southeast Asia (Figure 11). Indonesia, a excellent base to examine Philippines with, allocated USD 116 billion stimulus, an identical to 10.4% of GDP. The Philippine reaction is in the back of even Vietnam’s USD 26.Five billion (10.1% of GDP), a rustic notable for holding the severity of outbreak. Budget for revenue beef up additionally lags maximum ranges in developing Asia (Figure 12).

Figure 11. Philippines nonetheless lags friends in Southeast Asia. Image by the creator.
Figure 12. Budget for revenue beef up nonetheless under Asian ranges. Image by the creator.


It has been difficult for policymakers in developing Asia to design right-sized coverage responses to struggle the uncomfortable side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on earning of families and trade in addition to at the monetary device. While this exploratory knowledge research suggests sizable efforts taken by governments to save you additional worsening of the financial system, it says not anything about how such coverage movements have an effect on the choice of COVID-19 circumstances. Nevertheless, the area’s coverage responses, amongst different components, will affect the restoration of developing Asian economies from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data and codes used in this text are to be had in this Github repository.


[1] A. Abiad, M. Arao, E. Lavina, R. Platitas, J. Pagaduan, and C. Jabagat, The Impact of COVID-19 on Developing Asian Economies: The Role of Outbreak Severity, Containment Stringency, and Mobility Declines (2020), CEPR Press

[2] J. Felipe and S. Fullwiler, ADB COVID-19 Policy Database: A Guide (2020), Asian Development Review, 37(2), 1–20


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