World economy back to pre-pandemic level in 2021 - OECD

World economy back to pre-pandemic level in 2021 - OECD

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

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PARIS,France(AFP)— The global economy may get back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of next year as vaccines help propel recovery, but growth is likely to be uneven, the OECD said Tuesday.

Signs that vaccines could now be weeks away from distribution have injected cautious optimism as the year limps to a close with COVID-19 having claimed some 1.4 million lives.

"For the first time since the pandemic began, there is now hope for a brighter future," OECD Chief Economist Laurence Boone wrote in her introduction to the organisation's latest review of the global economic outlook.

"Progress with vaccines and treatment have lifted expectations and uncertainty has receded," she said, acknowledging that virus containment measures would likely be necessary for some months to come.

"The road ahead is brighter but challenging," Boone added.

- 'Unprecedented' action -

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development now sees world output dropping by 4.2 per cent this year thanks to the months-long lockdowns that slowed the spread of the coronavirus but threw a wrench into the global economy.

But it forecasts the world economy to snap back with 4.2 per cent growth in 2021.

The forecasts for the contraction and the recovery are both more modest than those its September update, despite many countries imposing new restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The OECD, which advises its 37 member nations on stimulating economic progress and world trade,credited the quick recovery to "unprecedented" action by governments and central banks.

"Without massive policy support, the economic and social situation would have been calamitous," Boone said.

She said that support "will pay off handsomely" in the coming months.

"The rebound will be stronger and faster as more and more activities reopen, limiting the aggregate income loss from the crisis," Boone said.

- China star performer -

But that rebound is likely to be uneven and may lead to lasting changes in the world economy, the OECD warned.

China is likely to be the only major economy to escape a contraction this year, with its economy growing by 1.8 per cent and then surging by 8.0 per cent in 2021.

On the other hand, the US economy will contract by 3.7 per cent this year but is only likely to manage 3.2 per cent growth in 2021.

The eurozone will make up even less lost ground. After a 7.5 per cent contraction in 2020, it is expected to grow just 3.6 per cent in 2021.

Japan is expected to fare similarly, with a 5.3 per cent contraction in 2020 followed by a 2.3 per cent rise in 2021.

Even other major emerging nations are also expected to only slowly recover.

Brazil's 6.0 per cent drop this year is likely to be followed by only 2.6 per cent growth in 2021.

India is seen as doing better, with its 9.9 percent drop this year to be followed by a 7.9 per cent rebound.

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