IHS Markit now believes the COVID-19 recession will be deeper than the one following the global financial crisis in 2008 – 2009 - Photo: Special

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – This interim global forecast is the second prepared in March and is much more pessimistic than our March 17 regularly scheduled outlook. It is based on major downgrades to forecasts of the United States (US) economy and oil prices.

The risks remain overwhelmingly on the downside and further downgrades are almost assured. IHS Markit now believes the COVID-19 recession will be deeper than the one following the global financial crisis in 2008 – 2009.

Real world GDP should plunge 2.8 percent in 2020 compared with a drop of 1.7 percent in 2009. Many key economies will see double-digit declines (at annualized rates) in the second quarter, with the contraction continuing into the third quarter.

Based on recent data and developments, IHS Markit has slashed the US’ 2020 forecast to a contraction of 5.4 percent. Because of the deep US recession and collapsing oil prices, we expects Canada’ economy to contract 3.3 percent this year, before seeing a modest recovery in 2021.

Europe, where the number of cases continues to grow rapidly and lockdowns are pervasive, will see some of the worst recessions in the developed world, with 2020 real GDP drops of approximately 4.5 percent in the Eurozone and British economies. Italy faces a decline of 6 percent or more.

The peak GDP contractions expected in the second quarter of 2020 will far exceed those at the height of the global financial crisis.

Japan was already in recession, before the pandemic. The postponement of the summer Tokyo Olympics will make the downturn even deeper. IHS Markit expects a real GDP contraction of 2.5 percent this year and a very weak recovery next year.

China’ economic activity is expected to have plummeted at a near-double-digit rate in the first quarter. It will then recover sooner than other countries, where the spread of the virus has occurred later. We predicts growth of just 2.0 percent in 2020, followed by a stronger-than-average rebound in 2021, because of its earlier recovery from the pandemic.

Emerging markets growth will also be hammered. Not only are infection rates rising rapidly in key economies, such as India, but the combination of the deepest global recession since the 1930s, plunging commodity prices, and depreciating currencies (compounding already dangerous debt burdens) will push many of these economies to the breaking point.

It will likely take two to three years for most economies to return to their pre-pandemic levels of output. More troubling is the likelihood that, because of the negative effects of the uncertainty associated with the virus on capital spending, the path of potential GDP will be lower than before. This happened in the wake of the global financial crisis.

A size-able and aggressive policy response will help to limit the downturn and bolster the upturn. We are beginning to see a much more effective fiscal and monetary response in recent days. While these moves are probably not big enough, they will act as circuit breakers and prevent the COVID-19 recession from becoming far worse.

by Nariman Behravesh and Elisabeth Waelbroeck-Rocha from IHS Markit