Bangkok, May 20 (EFE).- The Asia-Pacific region’s economic growth will slow down to 3.2 percent in 2022, in contrast to the 5.9 percent expansion recorded in 2021, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum said Friday.
The region’s growth will pick up slightly in 2023 to 3.4 percent, according to data published by the APEC Policy Support Unit.
The data comes on the eve of a meeting of trade ministers of the 21 countries that make up the APEC, including the United States, China, Russia, Mexico, Chile and Peru, scheduled to be held in Bangkok over the weekend.
Although economic activity rebounded in 2021 with the gradual reopening of borders and businesses, “the emergence of the Omicron variant in the second half of last year forced the reimposition of restrictions and lockdowns in some economies, slowing down economic activity,” Denis Hew, Director of the APEC Policy Support Unit, said.
“Major manufacturing hubs in the region were affected by the movement restrictions towards the second half of last year. As a result, we are once again faced with congested shipping lanes and ports, shortages of workers and production inputs—these hurt growth and pose risks in the near future,” Hew added.
The agency also touched upon global supply problems and their impact on price rises.
“Rising inflation, particularly of food and fuel prices, really cripple the standard of living and could push more people into extreme poverty,” Rhea C. Hernando, a senior researcher with the APEC Policy Support Unit, warned.
Inflation in APEC doubled to an average of 3 percent in 2021, compared to 1.5 percent in 2020.
It is expected to remain higher this year due to “worsening supply disruptions” caused by the war in Ukraine, the report said.
Inflation in the region has increased by an average of 4.5 percent between June and March 2022, according to the report.
This has led up to ten APEC economies to tighten their monetary policies until early May, although, on the positive side, trade activity accelerated in 2021 and APEC’s merchandise imports and exports grew by 27 percent last year. EFE