South Asia is on course for its worst economic performance in four decades this year, with four countries likely to record negative growth, because of Covid-19.
The World Bank anticipated the bleak picture in a report unveiled on Sunday. "South Asia finds itself in a perfect storm of adverse effects. Tourism has dried up, supply chains have been disrupted, demand for garments has collapsed and consumer and investor sentiments have deteriorated," the report said.
It slashed its growth forecast for the region this year to 1.8 to 2.8 percent from its pre-pandemic projection of 6.3 percent, with at least half the countries falling into "deep recession".
The hardest-hit will be the Maldives where the collapse of tourism will result in gross domestic output contracting by as much as 13 percent. Also, Afghanistan's economic output could shrink by as much as 5.9 percent, Pakistan's by up to 2.2 percent, and Sri Lanka's by as much as 3 percent.
Plus, these countries are expected to fall into recession, the World Bank said in its South Asia Economic Focus report, which was based on country-level data available as of April 7.
Also, the World Bank forecasts that Bangladesh will see sharp falls in economic growth. In October last year, it projected 7.2 percent economic growth for Bangladesh in the current fiscal year, which has now been slashed by 4.2 to 5.2 percent.
However, India's economy, the region's biggest, is expected to grow by 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent in the fiscal year that started on April 1. The World Bank has estimated that it will grow 4.8 to 5 percent in the fiscal year that ended on March 31.