Virus Outbreak: Authorities see pandemic lasting longer

CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM: The economy could still grow between 1.3% and 1.8% this year, supported by government relief and stimulus measures, public officials said

Taipei Times
Date: Apr 21, 2020
By: Crystal Hsu / Staff reporter

The COVID-19 pandemic might persist for nine months, from an earlier estimate of three months, and would wipe out almost all economic gains this year in the absence of the government’s relief and stimulus measures, top statistics and monetary officials said yesterday.

The pandemic could erase GDP growth by 1.8 to 2.3 percentage points this year through disruptions to trade channels abroad and consumer spending at home, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) told a meeting of the legislature’s Finance Committee in Taipei.

That would leave Taiwan with a parlous growth of between 0.4 percent and 0.9 percent, without government intervention, Chu said.

The statistics agency in February set its forecast for GDP growth this year at 2.37 percent, with the pandemic expected to affect China for three months, based on the global experience with SARS in 2003.

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