World leading economies in record slump on Covid-19

PARIS • The Covid-19 pandemic pushed most of the world’s major economies into unprecedented contractions in the second quarter (2Q), except for China which escaped a recession.

Here are 2Q changes in GDP compared to the previous quarter for the world’s top economies. Unless stated otherwise, the figures are from the national statistics institutes.


Japan announced in mid-May that it was already in recession — two consecutive quarters of contraction — when 1Q GDP slid by 0.6% after a 1.9% drop in the final quarter of 2019.

Yesterday, the world’s No 3 economy recorded a further slump of 7.8% in the April-June quarter, its worst on record, as the coronavirus deepens the country’s long-running economic woes.


The UK suffered the worst recession in Europe in the first two quarters of the year, also recording the continent’s highest number of Covid-19 deaths. GDP fell 20.4% in the 2Q after a 2.2% drop in the first.


Europe’s top economy was hit hard lesser by the coronavirus than its neighbours, but still saw its GDP fall by 10.1% in 2Q after a decline of 2% in the first.

Germany’s previous record for a quarterly GDP drop was 4.7% in the 1Q of 2009, after the financial crisis of 2008.


The eurozone’s No 2 economy was in a longer and stricter lockdown than its eastern neighbour, and 2Q’s GDP fell more steeply, by 13.8%, after a drop of 5.9% in the previous three months.

France’s previous all-time worst quarterly blow to output was dealt by a general strike in May 1968.


Italy’s growth was impacted very early on by the Covid-19 which hit its richest region, Lombardy, particularly hard. Italian GDP fell by 5.4% in the 1Q and then by 12.4% in the second.


After a 5.2% drop in the 1Q, Spain’s economy contracted a further 18.5% in 2Q, notably because of a 60% drop in tourism income and a fall by one-third in exports.


The eurozone’s overall GDP plunged 12.1% in the three months to June, after 3.6% in the 1Q, making the 2Q downturn “by far” the worst since statistics agency Eurostat started compiling growth data for the area in 1995.


The US, the world’s top economy, suffered a 9.5% slump in the 2Q following a 1.3% drop in the first, according to figures published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The US government also publishes annualised figures (-32.9% in the 2Q), a method that is not comparable with most other countries.


China, the world’s second-largest economy, may have been where the novel coronavirus originated, but thanks to strict lockdown measures it was able to largely halt the spread of the virus and reopen factories, thus avoiding a recession.

In the 2Q its economy rebounded by 11.5%, having fallen by 10% in the 1Q. Still, growth for this year will be well below the breakneck rates China has seen in recent years. — AFP