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Emerging Markets Monthly Highlights: Faster Vaccination Pace Still Not Sufficient to Beat The Pandemic

July 15, 2021

We have increased our 2021 GDP growth projections for most major emerging markets (EM), as the economic impact of pandemic-related restrictions becomes less severe. GDP data for Q1 is clear evidence of this trend, surprising to the upside in several EMs, mainly due to stronger-than-expected domestic demand, and in many cases, activity in services, even as new daily COVID-19 cases reached new record highs at that time in some countries. However, the risks to our economic outlook for EMs are skewed to the downside and have risen in recent weeks as a new COVID-19 wave takes hold in several countries, mostly due to the Delta variant. In some EMs, new daily virus cases have reached new highs, prompting some governments to reimpose lockdown measures. Even if the impact of lockdowns on activity has lessened, the on-and-off measures act as a drag on the economic recovery. In the absence of a faster vaccination pace, the exit from the pandemic-related downturn could be delayed for several EMs.