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World Bank warns pandemic is causing ‘unprecedented global shock’

The pandemic is causing “an unprecedented global shock, which could bring growth to a halt and could increase poverty across the region,” said Aaditya Mattoo, World Bank chief economist for East Asia and the Pacific.

This photo taken on 30 March, 2020 shows employees working on a battery production line at a factory in Huaibei in China’s eastern Anhui province. Photograph: AFP via Getty Images

Even in the best-case scenario, the region will see a sharp drop in growth, with China’s expansion slowing to 2.3% from 6.1% in 2019, according to a report on the pandemic’s impact on the region.

Just two months ago, the World Bank’s economists forecast China would grow by 5.9% this year, which would have been its worst performance since 1990.

Now the world’s second-largest economy faces a more dire outlook, reflected in the record contraction in manufacturing activity in February and industrial production that fell for the first time in 30 years.