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World Bank: Coronavirus Pandemic Will Slow Economies of China, East Asia-Pacific Region

A man wearing a face mask walks past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange Monday, March 30, 2020.

The World Bank says the COVID-19 pandemic will derail economic growth this year in China and throughout the East Asia-Pacific region.

The Bank issued a report Monday projecting just a 2.1% growth rate among developing countries in the East Asia-Pacific region this year, compared to 5.8% in 2019 under a forecast that presumes an economic recovery from the pandemic. But the same report projects a -0.5% growth rate under a worst-case scenario that presumes the pandemic will continue into 2021.

The Bank projects China’s economic growth would slow from 6.1% last year to 2.3% this year under the best-case scenario, but, under the worst-case scenario, would fall to a paltry 0.1% gain.

The World Bank had earlier predicted that nearly 35 million people in the region would be lifted out of poverty in 2020, but now projects that an additional 11 million people could be forced into poverty if the pandemic continues unchecked.