Over the past two decades, a cottage industry of sorts has emerged within the global intelligentsia predicting the rise of an “Asian century”. For thinkers like Kishore Mahbubani and Parag Khanna, the rapid growth of Asia’s emerging markets (EMs) would turbo-charge these once poverty-stricken ex-colonies to wealth and prominence. Last year, the World Economic Forum said that Asia would have the world’s largest GDP by 2020, exceeding that of the rest of the world combined.

But as Covid-19 ravages the global economy, EM Asia can now add “resilience” to that long list. EM Asia economic recovery is set to outpace that of EM Eastern Europe and EM Latin America. Sean Taylor, DWS’s Asia Pacific chief investment officer, predicts 7.4% growth in 2021 vis-a-vis 3.7% for each of the latter. While EM Asia will likely see its first recession in six decades with a 0.7% contraction this year, the Asian Development Bank sees growth returning to 6.8% in 2021.

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