Asia Economy

AstraZeneca vaccine halt could slow down Asia’s economic recovery, says economist

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Key Points
  • Reports of blood clots in some people who received the AstraZeneca-Oxford shot led several countries — many of them in Europe — to temporarily stop using the vaccine.
  • Issues surrounding the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine could hurt global trade — and that's bad news for Asia, said Steve Cochrane, chief Asia-Pacific economist at Moody's Analytics.
  • "So, right now, it's not that big of an issue and global trade still looks like it's very, very strong," said Cochrane.

In this article

VIDEO2:5602:56
Problems with AstraZeneca Covid vaccine could dent global trade: Economist

SINGAPORE — Asia's economic recovery could slow down as more countries suspend the use of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, warned the chief Asia-Pacific economist of Moody's Analytics.

"It adds some modest risk to the role that Asia plays in terms of the global economic turnaround," Steve Cochrane told CNBC's "Squawk Box Asia" on Tuesday.

Reports of blood clots in some people who received the AstraZeneca-Oxford shot led several countries — many of them in Europe — to temporarily stop using the vaccine. The World Health Organization said there's no link between the shot and an increased risk of developing blood clots and is investigating.

Vaccine impact on global trade

Cochrane said issues surrounding the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine could hurt global trade — and that's bad news for Asia where many economies are dependent on trading activity.

The vaccine is a risk, of course. It's one of the critical risks, we still have to see vaccines roll out over the course of this year for the global economy to get back on its feet.
Steve Cochrane
chief Asia-Pacific economist, Moody's Analytics

"There's a possibility it could put a dent in terms of global trade if the vaccine rollout is delayed in Europe and that were to mean that there were some more extensive lockdowns on the economy in Europe — then that could slow down the pace of global trade," he explained.

Asian countries have been relatively successful in containing the virus, and that's helped their economies recover quicker than those in Europe and the U.S.

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Germany is the latest country to suspend the AstraZeneca vaccine over blood clot fears

Fortunately, renewed lockdowns in some parts of Europe have not hit manufacturing, said Cochrane. He added that "almost all" of the impact from those lockdowns have affected the services sector.

"So, right now, it's not that big of an issue and global trade still looks like it's very, very strong," said the economist. "The vaccine is a risk, of course. It's one of the critical risks, we still have to see vaccines roll out over the course of this year for the global economy to get back on its feet."

Thailand briefly halts AstraZeneca vaccine

Thailand briefly halted the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine on Friday, but authorities said on Monday they would go ahead with administering the shots.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha became the first person in the country to receive the AstraZeneca-Oxford shot on Tuesday, reported Reuters.

Elsewhere in Asia, Indonesia said Monday it will delay the rollout of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine while waiting for the review from WHO, the news agency reported.

— CNBC's Sam Meredith contributed to this report.