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Coronavirus: The impact on the global economy ‘will be less than expected’ in 2020

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NOAH SEELAM

The damage to the global economy this year will be less than previously expected, but nonetheless “unprecedented”, says a leading international body.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) now forecasts a 4.5% decline in 2020, up from a 6% decline in June.

That means it does not expect the UK to have the deepest contraction of major G20 economies this year.

But the 10.1% drop would make Britain one of the hardest hit.

The 2020 review is favorable, but even so, the global economy is facing damage that the OECD describes as “unprecedented in recent history”.

The agency’s chief economist Laurence Boone said “there is no way to dress it up with sugar”.

It may be “less bad than we expected,” she said, “but it’s not a good result.”

  • Asia sees the first regional recession in 60 years
  • The pandemic pushes the US into official recession

For this year, the new forecast for Britain is a contraction that is less severe by 1.4 percentage points. In previous OECD forecasts, published in June, he gave two scenarios on how the pandemic could unfold.

For what he called the single hit scenario, the economic downturn for the UK was 11.5%, the biggest hit of any country covered by that forecast.

The new revised figures predict that some countries, including Italy, India and South Africa will experience larger contractions than those of the UK.

The report says the downturn would have been significantly greater had it not been for what he calls “the rapid and effective policy support introduced in all economies”.

Weak rebound in 2021

He says support should continue next year and governments should avoid “premature budget tightening at a time when economies are still fragile”.

Consumer spending on durable goods, including cars, has risen quite strongly, the OECD says. But it is subject to services involving social interaction or international travel.

For next year, the OECD is now forecasting a slightly weaker return for the global economy.

For Britain, the downward revision is relatively large, with growth now projected at 7.6%, leaving the economy even smaller than it was in 2019. The 2020 forecast reflects an assumption that the UK and EU will agree on a basic free trade agreement.

For the global economy, the agency’s chief economist said the loss of economic activity due to the pandemic by the end of 2021 would be equivalent to the annual gross domestic product of France and Germany.

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