The covid-19 pandemic could cost the global economy as much as $8.8trn (£7trn) in losses, or 9.7% of global GDP, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has predicted in a report published today.
The forecast was predicated on a long containment period - or the time from when an outbreak intensifies in each country to when economic activity begins to normalise - a scenario of six months.
Under a shorter, three-month containment period, the losses to the global economy would likely be closer to $5.8trn, equivalent to 6.4% of global GDP.
These findings can provide governments with a relevant policy guide as they develop and implement measures to contain and suppress the pandemic, and lessen its impacts on their economies and people."
The figures have been revised upwards from the $2trn to $4.1trn range the ADB estimated in its Asian Development Outlook report in early April.
However, governments and central banks around the world have been quick to implement both fiscal and monetary stimulus measures to support their economies. These measures, the Manila-based thinktank acknowledged, could eventually soften covid-19's economic impact by 30% to 40%.
With countries' increased health spending, combined with the direct support to cover losses in incomes and revenue, the hit to global GDP may come in overall at between $4.1trn and $5.4trn.
A further consequence of the pandemic, the ADB noted, would come in the form of higher unemployment. The US has already suffered high numbers of job losses, with 36.5 million US citizens having filed jobless claims in the past six weeks and the unemployment rate spiking to a record 14.7%.
Global employment will fall by between 158 million and 242 million jobs, the ADB predicted.
The ADB's chief economist, Yasuyuki Sawada, said the new analysis "presents a broad picture of the very significant potential economic impact of covid-19".
"It also highlights the important role policy interventions can play to help mitigate damage to economies.
"These findings can provide governments with a relevant policy guide as they develop and implement measures to contain and suppress the pandemic, and lessen its impacts on their economies and people."
Asia's losses in these scenarios, the ADB warned, could range from $1.7trn, or 6.2% of GDP, to $2.5trn, or 9.3% of GDP. China would be the hardest hit in Asia, with between $1trn and $1.6trn being chopped off the country's GDP.
However, with the government support packages factored in, Asia's economy may only contract by between $1.3trn, or 4.9% of GDP, and $1.8trn, or 6.8% of GDP.