Economic Outlook
John Wiley and Sons Inc.
World Economic Prospects Monthly
DOI 10.1111/1468-0319.12474, Volume: 44, Issue: Suppl 4,




Overview: World GDP now seen falling 2.8% in 2020

With much of the global economy now in some form of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, we expect world GDP to contract by about 7% in H1 2020. Activity is expected to rebound sharply in H2, but even so the severity of the shock is likely to lead to a permanent GDP loss for the global economy. ▀ While Chinese activity picked up in late‐Q1 as lockdown restrictions were unwound, we expect Q1 GDP to have fallen 12% q/q before rebounding sharply in Q2. But this Q2 boost looks set to be swamped by the collapse in activity caused by the rest of the world going into lockdown.▀ Although shutdown restrictions elsewhere are less severe than those imposed in China, business survey and labour market data still point to sharp falls in activity in most countries in Q2. Quarterly GDP declines of 8% or more in the US and eurozone seem likely. Overall, world GDP could fall by about 7% in H1, roughly double the size of the contraction during start of the global financial crisis in 2009.▀ In those economies subject to some form of lockdown, we expect restrictions to begin to be lifted during Q2. As a result, growth should resume in Q3 as sectors that have been forced to shut down see some pick‐up. But despite this rebound, world GDP is now seen shrinking 2.8% in 2020 overall — in 2009, the global GDP fall was 1.1%.▀ The H2 pick‐up, followed by a return to more normal conditions next year, will result in world GDP growth rising to almost 6% in 2021, helped also by the recent collapse in oil prices to about $30pb. But the scale of the disruption means that we expect a permanent loss of output from the shock. We expect global GDP in the medium term to be some 1.5% below the level we had anticipated before the coronavirus outbreak.▀ The risks around this forecast are large and broadly balanced. But were stringent lockdowns or widespread disruption, perhaps due to renewed outbreaks of the virus, to extend into Q3, global GDP could fall by as much as 8% this year.

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