Economic recovery from the pandemic in advanced economies last year translated into increasing demand for exports from developing economies in Asia.

Compared to 2020, when exports from the region comprised mostly of pandemic-related goods and electronics from a small subset of economies, external demand for Asian goods became more broad-based - ranging from machinery and vehicles to textiles and footwear-thus benefitting more economies in the region.

Our research found that due to uneven vaccination coverage and renewed outbreaks the rise in external demand has led to a two-track recovery.

The economies that forged ahead in 2021 - like the People's Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore - share two key features.

First, they are export-oriented, so naturally better-placed to benefit from the rebound in international trade. Second-and a factor more in control of policymakers-these economies were able to successfully contain COVID-19 outbreaks or rolled out vaccines rapidly.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 14, 2022, of The Himalayan Times