Jacqueline Loh: Riding the growth momentum in Asia

Keynote speech by Ms Jacqueline Loh, Deputy Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, at the Asian Financial Markets Forum (Prelude), 22 January 2021.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
12 February 2021


1.      Good afternoon. It is my pleasure to join you today at this Prelude event to ACI's inaugural Asian Financial Markets Forum to be held in October. Asian economies and financial markets have experienced remarkable growth in the last two decades, and will continue to be major contributors to global growth going forward. With this positive outlook, I am glad that the Forum will focus on "The Asian Financial Markets in the Next Decade" – a theme which is highly important and invigorating.

Macroeconomic outlook – Bullish for Asia

2.      The COVID-19 global health crisis has led to the deepest economic downturn in eight decades. The World Bank estimates that the global economy contracted by 4.3% in 2020. As the world economy began to emerge from the depths of recession in May last year, Asia was at the forefront of the recovery.

  • Indeed, the 2020 recession in Asia was shallower than in the rest of the world. This was due both to positive growth in China and Vietnam, as well as less severe recessions in other Asian countries.
  • China was the first country to enter lockdown and the first to record a V-shaped growth rebound.
  • In other Asian countries, more effective virus containment meant that domestic economic activity was less severely affected than in other parts of the world.
  • Quickly restoring production capacity played into Asia's strong presence in global value chains. Asian merchandise exports held up well, as global consumers spent more on goods while access to services was restricted. Asian exports of medical supplies and electronics expanded.