The International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised down its 2020 forecast for the Asian economy to a contraction of 2.2 percent, calling it “the worst outcome for this region in living memory.” The latest forecast is a downgrade compared with the projection of a 1.6 percent contraction in June. The IMF’s latest Regional Economic Outlook shows that a recovery started in the third quarter, though growth engines are not all firing with the same strength across all countries, leading to a “multispeed recovery,” Jonathan D.Ostry, acting director of the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department, said during a virtual news conference. The outlook varies by country depending on infection rates and containment measures, the scale and effectiveness of the policy response, reliance on contact-intensive activities, and reliance on external demand, according to the report. Advanced economies, while still in recession, are expected to do somewhat better than expected in 2020, reflecting a faster pickup in activity following earlier exit from lockdowns, Ostry noted. Australia will see a contraction of 4.2 percent in 2020, and Japan’s economy will shrink by 5.3 percent. South Korea will contract by 1.9 percent, while New Zealand is expected to see a sharp contraction of 6.1 percent. India’s economy experienced a much sharper than expected contraction in the second quarter, and is expected to recover slowly in the coming quarters, according to the IMF report, which projected India’s economy to contract by 10.3 percent this year. China, which suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic’s blow earlier than other countries, has seen a strong recovery after the first quarter lockdown, with growth revised up to 1.9 percent this year, “a rare positive figure in a sea of negatives,” the IMF official noted. Ostry said China experienced the COVID-19 pandemic first and dealt with it vigorously quite early, which allowed it to reopen much earlier than other countries. “We’ve now seen two quarters, the second and third quarter of 2020 with a very impressive growth from China,” he told reporters. China’s growth, given its role in the region, “is having positive spillovers, for the region and for commodity prices and for broadly participants in the global value chains that China is a big part of,” Ostry said. The IMF official noted that a lot of China’s exports have been related to medical equipment and home electronics amid the pandemic, and the global demand for these products will eventually “peter out.” Ostry noted that China is in the process of its multi-facet “rebalancing,” from a more export- and investment-led growth to a more consumption-driven growth, and is expected to have “a smooth handover” from a publicly generated growth to private demand-driven growth beyond the near term.