Asia's once fast-growing economies are struggling with weak domestic demand that is keeping a lid on inflation in contrast to some developed markets, heightening the chance many central banks will forgo interest rate hikes this year.

For investors and policymakers in Asian emerging markets, high and sometimes destabilizing inflation has always gone hand in hand with strong growth underpinning their development.

That has changed markedly, as slow vaccinations and a new wave of coronavirus infections delay economic recoveries in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and India.