IMF to raise estimate of Taiwan's 2020 GDP growth from -4 to 0%

Taiwanese official refutes IMF's projection, says country's economic performance expected to be better

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NDC Minister Kung Ming-hsin 

NDC Minister Kung Ming-hsin  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised its GDP growth estimate for Taiwan to zero as most other countries suffer a negative economic forecast due to the ongoing pandemic, but Taiwanese officials have disagreed with the IMF's number, calling it "impossible."

The IMF released its latest GDP growth forecast for 2020 on Tuesday (Oct. 13). The estimate for Taiwan has been upgraded from -4 percent — the April estimate made in view of the coronavirus' impact on the global economy — to 0 percent.

The revised projection for Taiwan may be attributable to the fact that the outbreak has caused limited disruptions compared to other economies. The IMF’s forecast for the global economy this year stands at -4.4 percent.

Taiwan’s GDP growth for 2021 is projected to rise to 3.2 percent as the world’s economy gradually recovers from COVID-19. This figure is slightly lower than the IMF’s earlier estimate of 3.5 percent.

The minister of the National Development Council (NDC), Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫), considers the IMF’s revised Taiwan estimate to be "too conservative." He said that it is "impossible" that the country’s economy has been stagnant throughout this year.

Kung cited data collected by the Cabinet that says Taiwan’s economy grew by 0.78 percent in the first half of 2020.

The economy has enjoyed positive growth in various areas, including exports, manufacturing, and retail, by the third quarter, stated Kung. He predicted that the country's economic outlook for the second half of the year will be better than the previous six months.

The Cabinet’s Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics forecast in August that Taiwan’s GDP growth should stand at 1.56 percent in 2020 and increase to 3.92 in 2021. With regard to the discrepancies between the IMF’s estimate and that of the government, Kung said the international organization “may not have a clear idea of the actual situation of Taiwan.”