On Friday, the Asian Development Bank said that the coronavirus pandemic could cost the global economy $4.1 trillion as it ravages the US, Europe and other major economies. The estimated impact is equivalent to nearly five percent of worldwide output based on a range of scenarios, but the lender said losses from "the worst pandemic in a century" could be higher.
"The estimated impact could be an underestimate, as additional channels such as...possible social and financial crises, and long-term effects on health care and education are excluded from the analysis," the ADB said.
The Manila-based bank said a shorter containment period could pare the losses to $2 trillion.
Equity markets around the globe have crashed over concerns of long-term impact of the pandemic crisisthough governments and central banks have stepped in to ease the pain, pledging more than $5 trillion in stimulus and easing monetary policy.
As of Thursday, the total number of reported COVID-19 cases worldwide had breached the one million mark with no near end in sight.
With billions of people in lockdown and economies at a standstill, the ADB said Asia is forecast to grow 2.2 percent this year, its slowest pace since a 1.7 percent expansion during the Asian financial crisis in 1998.
"No one can say how widely the COVID-19 pandemic may spread, and containment may take longer than currently projected," ADB chief economist Yasuyuki Sawada said.
"The possibility of severe financial turmoil and financial crises cannot be discounted," he added.
The forecasts assume the coronavirus outbreak will be contained this year and a return to normality in 2021.
However, there is still the potential for additional outbreaks and the severity of the pandemic remains uncertain.
"Outcomes can be worse than forecast and growth may not recover as quickly," the bank said.