Mar 5, 2020 - Economy & Business

Coronavirus could shrink global GDP

Data: OECD; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Data: OECD; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Here's how serious coronavirus is: With the exception of the global financial crisis, the last time that the world saw a quarter of negative GDP growth was in 1982.

Flashback: Back then, China accounted for only about 1% of global GDP. Today, that number is 15%.

By the numbers: Thanks in large part to a massive slowdown in China, the OECD sees global GDP shrinking at a 0.5% pace this quarter.

  • The forecast then shows a healthy bump back up to a 3.7% growth rate in the second quarter and an even higher 5.5% rate in the third, as the world starts to recover from the coronavirus shock.

Yes, but: All of these forecasts have much higher error bars than usual. There's a very good chance that the OECD's forecast will turn out to have been far too optimistic or pessimistic. We just have no idea which one it will be.

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