Lifepal: Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand enter 2nd quarter of recession in 2020

flags of Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand (©Kaung Myat Min)

flags of Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand (©Kaung Myat Min)

Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand have officially entered the second quarter of recession in 2020. The declining economy in these four Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries is due to the new coronavirus (COVID-19) engulfing the world since the beginning of 2020.

Recession can be defined as an economic condition that a country experiences when its gross domestic product (GDP) is negative for two consecutive quarters. The World Bank projects that the growth of the world’s economy is going to experience a 5.2 percent decline due to COVID-19 because the pandemic can weaken every single economic activity in all countries.

Data on the movement of the stock price index of ASEAN member countries and the growth of COVID-19 cases in these countries were analyzed by Indonesia-based insurance marketplace Darussalam was not included in the research because the oil-producing country is one of the sovereign countries that does not have a stock exchange.

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a negative growth in ASEAN countries’ stock exchange. The average performance of these countries’ stock index from January 1, 2020 to August 30, 2020 is -12.51 percent and there is not a single stock index in ASEAN that is moving positively in the past eight months, a study shows.

Southeast Asia’s stock market has been affected severely due to COVID-19’s effects in March 2020. As of August 30, 2020, there has been an average of 50,428 COVID cases in ASEAN countries. 


While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the ASEAN’s stock index to experience a tremendous correction, Malaysia’s stock exchange, also known as Burma Malaysia or Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE), is the only one that is experiencing a rapid recovery as time goes on. On the other hand, Singapore’s Straits Times Index (STI) is encountering a downturn, especially after recession. 

Data research shows that Bursa Malaysia shows a promising performance among other ASEAN countries even though its growth is still negative. From January 2020 to 30 August 2020, Bursa Malaysia’s performance is only decreasing at a rate of -3.86 percent.

Malaysia’s great performance owes its victory to the reopening of economic activity and social gatherings since June 10, 2020. After they decided to lift lockdown restrictions, the KLSE Index experienced a 2-week drop before returning to its next rebound. 

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