Virus cuts G20 GDP by record 3.4 percent in first quarter: OECD

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jun 11 2020 08:50 PM

Virus cuts G20 GDP by record 3.4 percent in first quarter: OECD 1
A person wearing a protective suit and a mask holds a placard as she attends a demonstration by medical workers in an area of Milan hard-hit by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak to demand more financial help from the government and to honor the victims of the virus, in Milan, Italy, June 10, 2020. Flavio Lo Scalzo, Reuters

PARIS - Measures to curtail the coronavirus outbreak caused a 3.4 percent drop in GDP for the Group of 20 major economies in the first three months of 2020, the largest decline since records began in 1998, the OECD said Thursday.

The steepest declines came in China, where the economy shrank 9.8 percent from the fourth quarter of 2019, and in France and Italy, down 5.3 percent each, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said.

These were among the first countries to impose drastic lockdowns against the virus.

"As a comparison, GDP fell only 1.5 percent in the first quarter of 2009, at the height of the financial crisis," the OECD said.

The Paris-based agency had already warned Wednesday that the global economy would contract at least six percent this year because of business closures and stay-at-home orders to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the event of a second wave of contagion later in the year, economic output could shrink by as much as 7.6 percent, it said while warning that in both scenarios, the recovery would be "slow and uncertain".

In Thursday's report, the OECD said provisional data showed GDP declines of 2.2 percent in Germany, 2.1 percent in Canada and two percent in Britain.

Output shrank 1.5 percent in Brazil, 1.3 percent in the United States and South Korea, and 1.2 percent in Mexico.

The contraction was less felt in Indonesia with a drop of 0.7 percent, Japan down 0.6 percent and Australia 0.3 percent lower, said the report.

The only G20 countries to register GDP growth in the first quarter were India, with 0.7 percent, and Turkey at 0.6 percent.