This column is a list of signiFsignificant economic events of the last year.
1. In the world’s 50 largest economies in terms of GDP size, the five worst performing and deepest GDP contractions in 2020 were: Spain with -10.8%, followed by Argentina -9 , 9%, of the United Kingdom -9.8%, of the Philippines -9.6%, and Italy -8.9%. Final 2020 data with projections for 2021-2025 was released by the IMF’s World Economic Outlook (WEP) in October 2021.
2. Out of the top 50 countries, only seven countries managed to grow and escape the contraction in 2020, four of which are in South and East Asia: Bangladesh with 3.5%, Taiwan 3.1 %, Vietnam 2.9% and China 2.3%. The Philippines were the 34e largest economy in the world in 2020, but could have been the 32sd if it only decreased by about -8% or less and not -9.6%.
3. There has been GDP growth in the Fifrom the first to the third quarter of 2021. Almost all countries have managed to grow, but largely due to the ‘base effect’ – their GDP levels in 2020 were low, so any marginal increase above this weak base would translate into growth. The Philippines grew 5.1% in Fifirst three quarters of 2021, but that would only be equivalent to the level of GDP in 2018. It will reach the level of 2019 around the second or third quarter of 2022.
4. Inflation in 2020. Most countries experienced lower consumer prices compared to 2019. The Philippines and Vietnam, however, experienced small increases in inflation. Strict closures in the Philippines have resulted in supply interruptions and delays (goods, repairs, and spare parts for tractors, trucks, boats, etc.) due to the numerous checkpoints and barriers between provinces – even between towns and cities. ‘same province – which contributed to higher inflation.
5. Inflation in 2021 was double or triple the 2020 levels for many countries – the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, etc. Free government money distributed to people who spent it even though they did not contribute to the production of goods and services, logistical delays in major seaports, then soaring energy prices , have contributed. In East Asia, the Philippines has the highest inflation rate – it’s not good.
6. Merchandise exports in 2020 declined in many countries except China, Taiwan and Vietnam. These three Asians also escaped GDP contractions that year. All G7 member countries have experienced signiFicannot lower exports. The shutdown of many manufacturing plants for several weeks and the strict and slow inspections at the ports contributed to this. World export data was released by the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 2021 World Trade Statistical Review (WTSR) on July 30.
7. Philippine exports remain the lowest among emerging and developed countries in East Asia, at just $ 64 billion in 2020. Our neighbors – Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam – have about four times that level. while Singapore has nearly six times this level (see table 1).
8. Discrimination against vaccines or the compulsory vaccination implicit as a trade and economic policy on the part of many governments in rich countries has grown wildly. By the end of the third quarter of 2021, many of them already have vaccination rates of 65-86% of their total population. By the end of 2021, that had grown to 73-88% of their population. The Philippines got off to a slow start but surged to 51% by the end of 2021.
9. Infections from the COVID-19 Omicron variant appeared to be higher in wealthy countries with high vaccination rates, their seven-day average cases per million population last week ranged from 2,300+ (Germany) to 16,800+ (France), but deaths from Omicron appear low, and appear even lower in countries with lower vaccination rates such as the Philippines, Indonesia and India.
10. Containment and restrictions on personal mobility continued until the end of 2021. Google’s Weekly Community Mobility Reports (GCMR) show how visitors (or time spent in) classified places are changing (in percentage) in relation to the reference days, using the median value of the FiFive-week period between January 3 and February 6, 2020. As of December 30, 2021, mobility at transit stations (TS) and workplaces (WP) remained high. The Philippines, for example, has -48% PM (see table 2).
Sluggish GDP growth and high inflation in 2021, as well as high public debt, continued restrictions and blockages on mobility, vaccine discrimination, all point to a gloomy start to 2022. We hope that governments, multilaterals, most NGOs and media, pharma, etc. temper fear and hysteria. Viruses will continue to mutate and evolve 100%, and humans and other living creatures will also continue to evolve 100% naturally. The sooner we realize that we have to live with evolving viruses, the better.
This is the sixth in the annual series of this column “Top 10 news of the year”, the others being:
1. “Top 10 news of 2016” https://www.bworldonline.com/are-the-people-satisFied-or-decu-with-more-government-the-top-10-news-of-2016 /.
2. Global and national trade trends (2017), https://www.bworldonline.com/trends-global-national-trade-prospects-near-future/.
3. Top 10 economic news of 2018, https://www.bworldonline.com/top-10-economic-news-of-2018/.
4. Top 10 economic news for 2019, https://www.bworldonline.com/top-10-economic-news-stories-of-2019/.
5. Top 10 economic news for 2020, https://funwithgovernment.blogspot.com/2020/12/bworld-468-top-10- economic-news-of-2020.html.
Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr. is the president of Minimal Government Thinkers.
minimal government@ gmail.com