Coronavirus pushing much of world into record slumps

14 August, 2020 12:00 AM printer

PARIS: The coronavirus pandemic has pushed most of the world’s major economies into unprecedented contractions in the second quarter, except for China which escaped a recession.

Here are the second quarter changes in gross domestic product (GDP) compared to the previous quarter for the world’s top economies. Unless stated otherwise, the figures are from the national statistics institutes, reports AFP.

Europe’s top economy was hit less hard by the coronavirus than its neighbours, but still saw its GDP fall by 10.1 percent in the second quarter.

As GDP had already declined by 2 percent in the first quarter, Germany’s economy met the definition of a recession: two consecutive quarters of contracting GDP. Germany’s previous record for a quarterly GDP drop: 4.7 percent in the first quarter of 2009.

The eurozone’s number two economy was in a longer and stricter lockdown than its eastern neighbour, and second quarter GDP fell more steeply, by 13.8 percent, after a drop of 5.9 percent in the previous three months. Previously the worst quarterly GDP growth in France happened in 1968 because of a general strike in May of that year.

Italy’s growth was impacted very early on by the coronavirus which hit its richest region, Lombardy, particularly hard. Italian GDP fell by 5.4 percent in the first quarter and then by 12.4 percent in the second, pushing the country into recession.

After a 5.2 percent drop in the first quarter, Spain’s economy contracted a further 18.5 percent in the second, notably because of a 60 percent drop in tourism income and a fall by one third in exports.

The eurozone’s overall GDP plunged 12.1 percent in the three months to June, after 3.6 percent in the first quarter, making the second quarter downturn “by far” the worst since statistics agency Eurostat started compiling growth data for the area in 1995. The UK suffered the worst recession in Europe in the first two quarters of the year, also recording the highest number of coronavirus deaths in Europe. GDP fell 20.4 percent in the second quarter after a 2.2 percent drop in the first.

The United States, the world’s top economy, suffered a 9.5 percent slump in the second quarter following a 1.3 percent drop in the first, according to figures published by the OECD. The US government publishes annualised figures (-32.9 percent in the second quarter), a method that is not comparable with most other countries.