It’s now more than 18 months since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the global economy is expected to make its most robust post-recession recovery in 80 years. But the bounce-back won’t be the same everywhere.
For instance, the UAE’s private sector (excluding oil) grew at its fastest pace in two years in July, according to the latest Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) from IHS Markit. The data showed firms continued to recruit, with the employment index hitting its highest level since January 2019. The firms surveyed were optimistic about sustained output growth going forward, boosted by the easing of Covid-19 restrictions and the success of the vaccine roll-out programme. There was further good news with the restarting of flights to the UK, Europe, and the Indian subcontinent, boosting demand in the hotel and hospitality sectors.
In China, which showed record growth in April Gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 7.9% in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the same time last year - that was less than half the rate seen in the previous quarter and missed economists' forecasts of 8.1% growth. In fact, China’s factory activity dipped in July, falling to a 15-month low.
In India it’s predicted that GDP growth could reach 9% in the next financial year. However, that’s against a backdrop of the Indian economy having shrunk by 7.3% in 2020-21. The main drivers of growth are likely to be agriculture and industry. In India, as in most countries, the services sector is likely to see lower growth as lockdowns continue to impact on tourism and hospitality.
Tourism has also taken a huge hit in Malaysia and Penang’s tourism businesses are calling for an easing of Covid restrictions to they can try to kickstart their businesses again. With 60% of the adult population projected to have received their second dose of the vaccine in the coming weeks, tourism leaders are calling for a concrete plan to allow both the state and country’s economic sectors to resume, so people can continue earning a living.