East-west divide: winners and losers in the Covid economy

East-west divide: winners and losers in the Covid economy

For Remigio Brunelli, managing director in China for the Italian sportswear group Tecnica, Covid-19 feels almost like a bad memory as life in Beijing returns to normal and consumers regain their confidence.

The difference between Europe and China is palpable, Mr Brunelli said. “Uncertainty is still running high in the old continent [Europe], and we expect it to last for another six or 12 months at least. In Asia, on the other hand, and particularly in China, there is confidence.”

His comments show how different approaches to the pandemic are now leading to sharp divergences in outcomes, with China, Taiwan and other Asia-Pacific economies on course to grow in 2020, even as countries where coronavirus has become endemic suffer severe contractions.

They also highlight an important question for 2021: can East Asia, which traditionally relies on customers in Europe and North America to fuel its growth, instead become a source of demand for the rest of the global economy?

While Europe enjoyed a strong rebound in the third quarter, its recovery is starting to run out of steam as coronavirus infections rise again across the continent.