Great Recession in Asia

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While beginning in the United States, the Great Recession (late 2000s and early 2010s) spread to Asia rapidly and has affected much of the region.


East Asia

Mainland China

In China, the International Monetary Fund predicts GDP growth for 2008 will be 9.7% and drop to 8.5% in 2009. [1] A struggle was underway to see who would swallow the losses on US Agencies and Treasuries. [2] On November 9, 2008 China announced a package of capital spending plus income and consumption support measures. Four trillion yuan ($586 billion) will be spent on upgrading infrastructure, particularly roads, railways, airports and the power grid; on raising rural incomes via land reform; and on social welfare projects such as affordable housing and environmental protection. [3] [4] So far at least 670,000 small and medium-size enterprises have been closed. [5]

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong economy officially slid into recession in the final quarter of 2008. The economy is predicted to grow at 2 percent in 2009. Hong Kong is an advanced tertiary economy built on services, retail, tourism, transport and financial industries. Hong Kong's manufacturing industry is located in Guangdong province which employs over 11 million people. [6] The Hang Seng Index has lost over 60 percent of its value, property market lost over 40 percent in value and unemployment is at a record high of 4.8 percent. [7]


Taiwan announced billions of dollars in spending and tax cuts due to declining growth and a 26 percent slump in the stock market in 2008. [8] The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers raised concerns about global exposure to the assets and stock of Lehman Brothers and the potential for the bankruptcy to cause further tightening of credit. Taiwan, despite reporting few losses from the subprime mortgage crisis, was said to have Lehman-related exposure for its companies and retail investors totaling $2.5 billion. To increase purchasing power, the ROC government has issued the ROC consumer voucher.


In Japan exports in June declined for the first time in about five years falling by 1.7 percent. Exports to the United States and European Union fell 15.4 percent and 11.2 percent respectively. The decline in exports and increase in imports cut Japan's trade surplus $1.28 billion a decline of 90 percent from the previous year. An economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland said the decline means the Japanese economy most likely declined in the second quarter. [9] Taro Aso, secretary-general of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party, said he believes Japan had entered a recession. [10]

Japan's economy declined by 0.6 percent in the second quarter of 2008. [11] This was later revised to a decline of 0.7 percent. [12] Japanese exports grew 0.3 percent in August 2008 compared to a year before down from 8 percent the previous month. Exports to the U.S. fell 21.8 percent, the biggest decline on record, and exports to Europe fell 3.5 percent. [13] Two Japanese banks appeared on the list of major Lehman creditors. [14] On November 17, the Japanese Economy Minister announced that the nation was officially in a recession. [15]

South Korea

By September 2008, the crisis threatening the GSEs (US mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) began to have consequences in Asia. The foreign exchange reserves of South Korea's central bank contained many depreciating "Agency bonds" from the GSEs, threatening a currency crisis and leading to depreciation of the South Korean won against the US dollar and other major currencies,. [16] Samsung Electronics has been reported to be posting a decrease in sales for the first time since the 1997 Asian financial crisis that home appliances saw a decrease in the domestic market of up to 20 percent since mid-June compared to the previous year. Domestic auto sales also saw a decrease in the second quarter. Auto exports also posted a loss and exports of home appliances were also reported to be in decline. [17]

South East Asia


In January 2009, Malaysia has banned the hiring of foreign workers in factories, stores and restaurants to protect its citizens from mass unemployment amid the global economic crisis. [18]

It was announced that some foreign companies would fire workforce in Malaysia. In 2009 GDP contracted 1.7%. [19]


Unlike the other economies in the region, The Philippines was the only one of a mere handful of countries in the whole world to have recorded a positive economic growth in 2009 and averted the effects of economic recession. [20] However, it did not mean that the country experienced no effect of the ongoing world financial crisis. The economy was based on the remittances of the Overseas Filipino Workers, most of them working in affected countries like the United States.

Middle East

Gulf Co-operation Council

Booming and then Decreasing oil prices will affect Persian gulf countries.

United Arab Emirates

Real estate prices in Dubai have decreased substantially. [21]


Lebanon is one of the only seven countries in the world to have scored profits in 2008. [22] Given the regular security turmoil it has faced in the past, its banks have adopted a conservative approach. The strict regulations imposed by the central bank were crafted to make the Lebanese economy immune to political crisis; and so far, this has applied to the global economic crisis as well. The Lebanese banks remain, under the current circumstances, high on liquidity and reputed for their security. [23]

Moody's has recently shifted Lebanon's sovereign rankings from stable to positive acknowledging its financial security. [24] Moreover, with a Beirut stock market increase of 51%, the index provider MSCI, ranked Lebanon as the world's best performer in 2008. [22] Analysts are, nonetheless, skeptic about the future indirect effects of the crisis, but so far, the direct consequences have proved to be positive.

South Asia


Bangladesh economy is not affected by the global recession. Bangladesh's economic growth and exports remain quite strong. [25]


India's economy benefited from recent high economic growth which declined greatly due to the global economic crisis. [26] [27] Economic growth in India during FY2008-09 stood at 6.7%. [28] The global crisis had less impact of India because exports account for only 15% of India's GDP, less than half the levels of major Asian economic powers such as China and Japan. [29] However, unlike other major Asian economies, India's government finances were in poor shape and as a consequence, it was not able to enact large-scale economic stimulus packages. [30] Despite this, from June 2008 to June 2009, industrial production in India grew by 7.1%. [31]

Though he ended up being faked, the former Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram once boasted that he expected India's economy to "bounce back" to 9% during FY2009. [32] India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the government will take measures to ensure that the economic growth bounces back to 9%. [33] The Asian Development Bank predicted India to recover from weakening momentum in 4-6 quarters. [34] At the G20 Summit, India called for coordinated global fiscal stimulus to mitigate the severity of the global credit crunch. [35] India said that it would inject US$4.5 billion into the financial system to help exporters. [36]

Some analysts pointed that India's growing trade with other Asian countries, especially China, will help reduce the negative impact of the crisis. [37] Analysts also said that India's high domestic demand and large infrastructure projects will act as a buffer reducing the impact of the global downturn on its economy. [38] Economists argued that India's financial system is relatively insulated and its banks do not have significant exposure to subprime mortgage. [39] In an editorial, the New York Times praised the strong regulations placed on the Indian banking system by the Reserve Bank of India. [40]

In May 2009, India reported an economic growth rate of 5.8%, beating most forecasts. [41] In second quarter of 2009 the Indian economy grew by 7.9% and gave indications that the Indian economy would scale a growth rate of 7% or above in 2009 and 8-9% in 2010. In the 3rd Quarter of 2010, the economy had bounced back with a growth rate of 8.8%.


In Pakistan the central bank's foreign currency reserves, when counting forward liabilities is said to only amount to as little as $3 billion, sufficient for a single month of imports. Corruption and mismanagement have combined with high oil prices to damage Pakistan's economy. Pakistan's rupee has lost more than 21 per cent of its value in 2008 and inflation is at 25 per cent. The government has failed to defer payments for Saudi oil or raise favorable loans. President Asif Ali Zardari claimed Pakistan needed a bailout worth $100 billion which he was expected to ask for at a meeting in Abu Dhabi in November. Ratings agency Standard and Poor's rates Pakistan's sovereign debt at CCC +, only a few ratings above the default level, warning the country may be unable to cover about $3 billion in upcoming debt payments. [42]

This led a change in economic managers, and politically elected finance minister Naveed Qamar was replaced by a financial advisor, Shaukat Tareen, a former banker belonging to Citigroup on October 8, 2008. The new finance advisor led the Pakistani delegation to IMF-World Bank meeting in USA with a hope to obtain a loan from the World Bank which has been stopped now due to reservations from IMF on World Bank for releasing this nature of Loan to any country.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka too is affected with the global recession, as the demand for their major products such as garments, tea, rubber, coconut based products and agricultural products are at a downturn. At the moment, tea is severely affected and the country is experiencing 35% drop in the exports presently. Also, the tourist industry has downsized; last year, there was a 7% downsize to the industry, primarily due to the loss of European tourists.

Timeline of the Great Recession across all continents

The table below displays all national recessions appearing in 2006-2013 (for the 71 countries with available data), according to the common recession definition, saying that a recession occurred whenever seasonally adjusted real GDP contracts quarter on quarter, through minimum two consecutive quarters. Only 11 out of the 71 listed countries with quarterly GDP data (Poland, Slovakia, Moldova, India, China, South Korea, Indonesia, Australia, Uruguay, Colombia and Bolivia) escaped a recession in this time period.

The few recessions appearing early in 2006-07 are commonly never associated to be part of the Great Recession, which is illustrated by the fact that only two countries (Iceland and Jamaica) were in recession in Q4-2007.

One year before the maximum, in Q1-2008, only six countries were in recession (Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Portugal and New Zealand). The number of countries in recession was 25 in Q22008, 39 in Q32008 and 53 in Q42008. At the steepest part of the Great Recession in Q12009, a total of 59 out of 71 countries were simultaneously in recession. The number of countries in recession was 37 in Q22009, 13 in Q32009 and 11 in Q42009. One year after the maximum, in Q12010, only seven countries were in recession (Greece, Croatia, Romania, Iceland, Jamaica, Venezuela and Belize).

The recession data for the overall G20-zone (representing 85% of all GWP), depict that the Great Recession existed as a global recession throughout Q32008 until Q12009.

Subsequent follow-up recessions in 20102013 were confined to Belize, El Salvador, Paraguay, Jamaica, Japan, Taiwan, New Zealand and 24 out of 50 European countries (including Greece). As of October 2014, only five out of the 71 countries with available quarterly data (Cyprus, Italy, Croatia, Belize and El Salvador), were still in ongoing recessions. [43] [44] The many follow-up recessions hitting the European countries, are commonly referred to as being direct repercussions of the European sovereigndebt crisis.

Country [lower-alpha 1] Recession period(s) during 20062017 [43] [44]
(measured by quarter-on-quarter changes of seasonally adjusted real GDP,
as per the latest revised Q3-2013 data from 10 January 2014)
[lower-alpha 2]
Albania 2007-Q1Q1-2007 until Q2-2007 (6 months) [45]
Q3-2009 until Q4-2009 (6 months) [45]
Q4-2011 until Q1-2012 (6 months) [45]
Argentina 2008-Q4Q4-2008 until Q2-2009 (9 months)
Q1-2012 until Q2-2012 (6 months)
Q3-2013 until Q3-2014 (12 months)
Q3-2015 until Q3-2016 (15 months)
Australia None
Austria 2008-Q2Q2-2008 until Q2-2009 (15 months)
Q3-2011 until Q4-2011 (6 months)
Belgium 2008-Q3Q3-2008 until Q1-2009 (9 months)
Q2-2012 until Q1-2013 (12 months)
Belize 2006-Q1Q1-2006 until Q2-2006 (6 months) [46]
Q1-2007 until Q3-2007 (9 months) [46]
Q4-2008 until Q1-2009 (6 months) [46]
Q4-2009 until Q1-2010 (6 months) [46]
Q1-2011 until Q2-2011 (6 months) [46]
Q2-2013 until Q1-2017 (48 months) [46]
Bolivia None [47] [lower-alpha 3]
Brazil 2008-Q4Q4-2008 until Q1-2009 (6 months)
Q1-2014 until Q4-2016 (36 months)
Bulgaria 2009-Q1Q1-2009 until Q2-2009 (6 months)
Canada 2008-Q4Q4-2008 until Q2-2009 (9 months)
Chile 2008-Q2Q2-2008 until Q1-2009 (12 months)
China None
Colombia None [48] [49]
Costa Rica 2008-Q2Q2-2008 until Q1-2009 (12 months) [50]
Croatia 2008-Q3Q3-2008 until Q2-2010 (24 months)
Q3-2011 until Q4-2012 (18 months)
Q2-2013 until Q2 2014 (15 months)
Cyprus 2009-Q1Q1-2009 until Q4-2009 (12 months)
Q3-2011 until Q4-2014 (42 months)
Czech Republic 2008-Q4Q4-2008 until Q2-2009 (9 months)
Q4-2011 until Q1-2013 (18 months)
Denmark 2008-Q3Q3-2008 until Q2-2009 (12 months)
Q3-2011 until Q4-2011 (6 months)
Q4-2012 until Q1-2013 (6 months)
Ecuador 2006-Q4Q4-2006 until Q1-2007 (6 months) [51]
Q1-2009 until Q3-2009 (9 months) [52] [53]
El Salvador 2008-Q3Q3-2008 until Q2-2009 (12 months) [54] [lower-alpha 4]
Estonia 2008-Q3Q3-2008 until Q3-2009 (15 months)
Q1-2013 until Q2-2013 (6 months)
EU (28 member states)2008-Q2Q2-2008 until Q2-2009 (15 months)
Q4-2011 until Q2-2012 (9 months)
Q4-2012 until Q1-2013 (6 months)
Eurozone (17 member states)2008-Q2Q2-2008 until Q2-2009 (15 months)
Q4-2011 until Q1-2013 (18 months)
Finland 2008-Q1Q1-2008 until Q2-2009 (18 months)
Q2-2012 until Q1-2015 (36 months)
France 2008-Q2Q2-2008 until Q2-2009 (15 months)
Q4-2012 until Q1-2013 (6 months)
G20 (43 member states, PPP-weighted GDP) [lower-alpha 5] 2008-Q3Q3-2008 until Q1-2009 (9 months)
Germany 2008-Q2Q2-2008 until Q1-2009 (12 months)
Greece 2008-Q3Q3-2008 until Q2-2014 (63 months)
Q1-2015 until Q1-2017 (27 months)
Hong Kong 2008-Q2Q2-2008 until Q1-2009 (12 months) [57]
Hungary 2007-Q1Q1-2007 until Q2-2007 (6 months)
Q2-2008 until Q3-2009 (18 months)
Q2-2011 until Q3-2011 (6 months)
Q1-2012 until Q4-2012 (12 months)
Iceland 2007-Q4Q4-2007 until Q2-2008 (9 months)
Q4-2008 until Q1-2009 (6 months)
Q3-2009 until Q2-2010 (12 months)
India None
Indonesia None
Ireland 2007-Q2Q2-2007 until Q3-2007 (6 months)
Q1-2008 until Q4-2009 (24 months)
Q3-2011 until Q2-2013 (24 months)
Israel 2008-Q4Q4-2008 until Q1-2009 (6 months)
Italy 2007-Q3Q3-2007 until Q4-2007 (6 months)
Q2-2008 until Q2-2009 (15 months)
Q3-2011 until Q3-2013 (27 months)
Q1-2014 until Q4-2014 (12 months)
Jamaica 2007-Q3Q3-2007 until Q4-2007 (6 months) [58]
Q3-2008 until Q1-2009 (9 months) [58]
Q4-2009 until Q2-2010 (9 months) [58]
Q4-2011 until Q1-2012 (6 months) [58]
Q4-2012 until Q1-2013 (6 months) [58]
Japan 2008-Q2Q2-2008 until Q1-2009 (12 months)
Q4-2010 until Q2-2011 (9 months)
Q2-2012 until Q3-2012 (6 months)
Kazakhstan 2008-Q3Q3-2008 until Q1-2009 (9 months) [59] [lower-alpha 6]
Latvia 2008-Q2Q1-2008 until Q3-2009 (18 months)
Q1-2010 until Q2-2010 (12 months)
Lithuania 2008-Q3Q3-2008 until Q2-2009 (12 months)
Luxembourg 2008-Q2Q2-2008 until Q1-2009 (12 months)
Macedonia 2009-Q1Q1-2009 until Q3-2009 (9 months) [60]
Q1-2012 until Q2-2012 (6 months) [60]
(not qoq-data, but quarters compared with same quarter of last year) [lower-alpha 2]
Q1-2012 until Q2-2012 (6 months)
Malaysia 2008-Q3Q3-2008 until Q1-2009 (9 months) [61] [62]
Malta 2008-Q4Q4-2008 until Q1-2009 (6 months)
Mexico 2008-Q3Q3-2008 until Q2-2009 (12 months)
Moldova None [63] [lower-alpha 7]
Netherlands 2008-Q2Q2-2008 until Q2-2009 (15 months)
Q2-2011 until Q1-2012 (12 months)
Q3-2012 until Q2-2013 (12 months)
New Zealand 2008-Q1Q1-2008 until Q2-2009 (18 months)
Q3-2010 until Q4-2010 (6 months)
Norway 2009-Q1Q1-2009 until Q2-2009 (6 months)
Q2-2010 until Q3-2010 (6 months)
Q1-2011 until Q2-2011 (6 months)
OECD (34 member states, PPP-weighted GDP)2008-Q2Q2-2008 until Q1-2009 (12 months)
Paraguay 2008-Q3Q3-2008 until Q1-2009 (9 months) [64]
Q2-2011 until Q3-2011 (6 months) [64]
Peru 2008-Q4Q4-2008 until Q2-2009 (9 months) [65]
Philippines 2008-Q4Q4-2008 until Q1-2009 (6 months) [66] [67]
Poland None
Portugal 2007-Q2Q2-2007 until Q3-2007 (6 months)
Q1-2008 until Q1-2009 (15 months)
Q4-2010 until Q1-2013 (30 months)
Romania 2008-Q4Q4-2008 until Q2-2009 (9 months)
Q4-2009 until Q1-2010 (6 months)
Q4-2011 until Q1-2012 (6 months)
Russia 2008-Q3Q3-2008 until Q2-2009 (12 months)
Q4-2014 until Q4-2016 (27 months)
Serbia 2008-Q2Q2-2008 until Q2-2009 (15 months) [68]
Q2-2011 until Q1-2012 (12 months) [68]
Q3-2012 until Q4-2012 (6 months) [68]
Singapore 2008-Q2Q2-2008 until Q1-2009 (12 months) [69] [70] [71] [72] [73]
Slovakia None
Slovenia 2008-Q3Q3-2008 until Q2-2009 (12 months)
Q3-2011 until Q4-2013 (24 months) [74] [75]
South Africa 2008-Q4Q4-2008 until Q2-2009 (9 months)
South Korea None
Spain 2008-Q2Q2-2008 until Q4-2009 (21 months)
Q2-2011 until Q2-2013 (27 months)
Sweden 2008-Q1Q1-2008 until Q1-2009 (15 months)
Switzerland 2008-Q4Q4-2008 until Q2-2009 (9 months)
Taiwan 2008-Q2Q2-2008 until Q1-2009 (12 months) [76]
Q3-2011 until Q4-2011 (6 months) [76]
Thailand 2008-Q4Q4-2008 until Q1-2009 (6 months) [77]
Turkey 2008-Q2Q2-2008 until Q1-2009 (12 months)
Ukraine 2008-Q2Q2-2008 until Q1-2009 (12 months) [78]
Q3-2012 until Q4-2012 (6 months) [78] [79] [80]
United Kingdom 2008-Q2Q2-2008 until Q2-2009 (15 months) [81]
United States 2008-Q3Q3-2008 until Q2-2009 (12 months)
Uruguay None [82]
Venezuela 2009-Q1Q1-2009 until Q1-2010 (15 months) [83]
  1. 105 out of the 206 sovereign countries in the World, did not publish any quarterly GDP data for the 20062013 period. The following 21 countries were also excluded from the table, due to only publishing unadjusted quarterly real GDP figures with no seasonal adjustment: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brunei, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Georgia, Guatemala, Iran, Jordan, Macao, Montenegro, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Palestine, Qatar, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Vietnam.
  2. 1 2 Only seasonally adjusted qoq-data can be used to accurately determine recession periods. When quarterly change is calculated by comparing quarters with the same quarter of last year, this results only in an aggregated -often delayed- indication, because of being a product of all quarterly changes taking place since the same quarter last year. Currently there is no seasonal adjusted qoq-data available for Greece and Macedonia, which is why the table display the recession intervals for these two countries only based upon the alternative indicative data format.
  3. Bolivia had as of January 2014 only published seasonally adjusted real GDP data until Q1-2010, with the statistics office still to publish data for 2010-13. [47]
  4. According to the methodology note for the quarterly GDP of El Salvador, this data series include seasonally adjustments. [55]
  5. The G20-zone represents 85% of all GWP, and comprise 19 member states (incl. UK, France, Germany and Italy) along with the EU Commission as the 20th member, who represents the remaining 24 EU member states in the forum. [56]
  6. Kazakhstan had as of January 2014 only published seasonally adjusted real GDP data until Q4-2009, with the statistics office still to publish data for 2010-13. [59]
  7. Moldova had as of January 2014 only published seasonally adjusted real GDP data until Q4-2010, with the statistics office still to publish data for 2011-13. [63]

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