The region will experience zero growth for the first time since the 1960s, said Chang Yong Rhee, director of the IMF's Asia and Pacific Department, who forecast that the economic impact of the pandemic will be "severe, across the board, and unprecedented." Speaking during a press conference live-streamed from Washington, Rhee said Asia faces "a crisis like no other" due to the pandemic, which has killed over 136,000 people worldwide and prompted governments to impose lockdowns that have hampered commerce.
"Containment measures are severely affecting economies," Rhee said.
Though Asia will "fare better than other regions," it will nonetheless be hard-hit, in part due to a "deterioration of external demand" in Europe and North America, where severe recessions are expected.
On Tuesday, the IMF predicted that "the Great Lockdown" will cause the worst global downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.