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Cost of coronavirus may reach $4.1 trillion


3 April 2020

The cost of damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic can reach $4.1 trillion, or almost 5% of the global gross domestic product, depending on the spread of the disease in Europe, the United States and other large economies, the Asian Development Bank said. 

A shorter containment period could limit the damage to $2 trillion, or 2.3% of world production. Developing countries in the Asian region, including China, will account for 36% of the total cost of the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, on March 6, ADB believed that a virus outbreak would cost the world economy $347 billion, and growth rates would decline by as much as 0.4%. Since then, the epicenter of the epidemic has shifted from China to Europe and the United States, with the number of reported cases currently exceeding 1 million. 

ADB lowered its growth forecast for Asia in 2020 from 5.5% to 2.2% last September. The forecast for China has been reduced from 6% to 2.3%. For comparison: last year, the country's economy grew by 6.1%. According to the report, this year there will be weak growth in all sub-regions of developing countries in Asia. 

Countries dependent on tourism and raw materials, including Thailand, will suffer the most from the pandemic. If the epidemic can be stopped within three to six months, the economy will recover faster. 

Inflation is likely to accelerate due to rising food prices, even despite declining economic activity; but low commodity prices will help smooth out price hikes, the ADB report said. 

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