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Asian Development Bank's growth downgrades are not downbeat enough

Coronavirus crisis hits world of rising inequality and falling globalization

Daily wage workers and homeless people wait to be transferred to a shelter during India's coronavirus lockdown on April 15. 

The annual Asian Development Bank economic outlook released on April 3 makes for grim reading. It forecasts a drop in the region's growth from 5.2% last year to 2.2% this year as a result of the pandemic. There are multiple references to the global financial crisis of over a decade ago, and it calls on governments and central banks in both emerging and developed Asia to take swift action now as they did then.

"No one can say how widely the COVID-19 pandemic may spread, and containment may take longer than currently projected," noted the ADB's chief economist, Yasuyuki Sawada. "The possibility of severe financial turmoil and financial crises cannot be discounted. Sharp and protracted declines in commodity prices and tourist arrivals will challenge dependent economies across the region."

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