APEC economies grow 6.1 percent in Q1 hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Photo: AFP/VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region posted a 6.1-percent increase in economic growth in the first quarter of 2021, bouncing back strongly from a 2-percent decline in the first quarter of 2020, according to an updated report by the APEC Policy Support Unit.

The number shows the region is on track to achieve growth expectations for the year, which is now estimated at 6.4 percent, slightly higher than the earlier prediction.

The high growth in the first quarter of 2021 is attributable to a combination of factors, including the low comparison point following substantial economic contraction a year ago, as well as higher government spending given the sustained impact of the pandemic on economic activities, while domestic consumption grew considerably during this period, the report said.

In the near term, the APEC Policy Support Unit still sees sustained stimulus measures from governments driving the region's economic growth. Private consumption will also get a boost of confidence as consumers are expected to draw on their accumulated savings, bolstered in part due to cash transfers and wide-ranging subsidies to households.

"Vaccination programs and rollout still drive economic growth and the recovery progress in the region," said Denis Hew, Director of the APEC Policy Support Unit. He said there were disparity in access to vaccination coverage across APEC and economies with faster rollouts and sustained fiscal support will recover faster and stronger, while economies that struggle with vaccine access and have limited fiscal space will take more time to recover due to these uncertainties.

In terms of trade, the region performed positively in the first quarter of 2021, with the value of merchandise exports and imports growing at a higher rate of 16.8 percent and 16.2 percent, respectively, from a contraction of 6.1 for exports and 4.1 percent for imports during the same period last year.

The updated report noted that the impact of COVID-19 on the transport and travel sectors continues to drag APEC's commercial services performance. For the period January to March 2021, commercial services declined further to 12 percent for exports and 15.2 percent for imports, compared to a decline of 9.5 percent for exports and 9.2 percent for imports for the same period in 2020./.