Connect with us

Economy

Coronavirus: US economy shrinks at fastest rate since 2008 – BBC News

Published

on


The US economy suffered its most severe contraction in more than a decade in the first quarter of the year, as the country introduced lockdowns to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The world’s largest economy sank at an annual rate of 4.8%, according to official figures released on Wednesday.

It marked the first contraction since 2014, ending a record expansion.

But the figures do not reflect the full crisis, since many of the restrictions were not put in place until March.

Since then, more than 26 million people in the US have filed for unemployment, and the US has seen historic declines in business activity and consumer confidence. Forecasters expect growth to contract 30% or more in the three months to June.

“This is off the rails, unprecedented,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “The economy has just been flattened.”

The contraction in the US economy is part of a global slowdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In China, where restrictions were in place for much of the quarter, the economy shrank by 6.8% – its first quarterly contraction since record-keeping began in 1992.

And on Wednesday, Germany said its economy could shrink by a record 6.3% this year.

“We will experience the worst recession in the history of the federal republic” founded in 1949, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said.

Consumer hit

Before the coronavirus knocked the global economy off course, the US economy was expected to grow about 2% this year.

But by mid April, more than 95% of the country was was in some form of lockdown. Although some states have started to remove the orders, they remain in place in many others, including major economic engines such as New York and California.

Many companies have warned of significant hits related to the pandemic as they share quarterly results with investors.

On Tuesday, General Electric said its revenues had fallen 8% in the first quarter, while Boeing – already in crisis after fatal crashes of its 737 Max plane – reported a 48% revenue fall, and said it planned to reduce output and cut jobs.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting every aspect of our business, including airline customer demand, production continuity and supply chain stability,” chief executive Dave Calhoun said.

The Commerce Department said consumer spending – which accounts for about two thirds of the US economy – dropped 7.6% in the first three months of the year.

Spending on food services and accommodation plummeted more than 70%, while clothing and footwear purchases were down more than 40%.

Health spending also plunged – despite the virus – as concerns about infection prompted doctors to postpone routine treatments and other medical care.

The economic pain in the US is expected to be even more severe in the April-June period, but economists say even the estimate for the first quarter is likely to be revised lower, as the government receives more data.

“It’s very difficult to gauge the depth of the decline,” Mr Zandi said. “We won’t really know the extent of the economic damage for years.”

The US has responded to the economic crisis with more than $3tn in new spending.

The central bank has also mounted a significant intervention. Policymakers there are expected to speak about those efforts on Wednesday.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Economy

Swiss Economy Slumps the Most in Decades – Yahoo Canada Finance

Published

on


Swiss Economy Slumps the Most in Decades

(Bloomberg) — Switzerland’s economy slumped the most in at least four decades as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with private consumption and investment plummeting.

First-quarter gross domestic product plunged 2.6%, data from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs showed. That’s worse than the 2.1% hit forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey and the biggest three-month contraction since the start of the time series in 1980.

Like neighboring France, Italy and Germany, Switzerland responded to the pandemic by winding down much of public life. The hotel and restaurant sector experienced a 23.4% drop in output, according to the data on Wednesday.

Although the Swiss economy fared slightly worse than Germany’s in the first quarter, the contractions in France and Italy were far more severe.

Swiss government subsidies have kept a lid on unemployment and helped companies avoid a cash crunch, but the SECO still expects the economy to shrink 6.7% this year before staging a slow recovery in 2021.

Machine industry group Swissmem said that 80% of its member companies were forced to apply for short-time work, and that the full impact of the pandemic wouldn’t be felt by the sector until the second or third quarter of this year.

To prevent the rallying haven franc from hurting the economy still further, the Swiss National Bank has stepped up the pace of its currency interventions. Its deposit rate is already at a record low of -0.75%.

(Updates detail on hospitality sector in 3rd paragraph)

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com” data-reactid=”27″>For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.” data-reactid=”28″>Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Economy

Australia Economy Contracts as End to Recession-Free Run Looms – BNNBloomberg.ca

Published

on


(Bloomberg) — Australia’s economy contracted in the first three months of the year, setting up an end to the nearly 29-year run without a recession as an even deeper slowdown looms for the current quarter.

Gross domestic product fell 0.3% from the final three months of 2019, the first quarterly drop since 2011, compared with a forecast 0.4% decline, statistics bureau data showed in Sydney Wednesday. From a year earlier, it expanded 1.4%, matching estimate

The result sets up an end to Australia’s record run of avoiding two consecutive quarters of negative GDP, having dodged recessions during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the Dot Com Bubble and the 2008 global financial crisis. The current quarter will see a deep contraction, with almost 600,000 jobs lost in April alone and much of the economy in lockdown to contain the coronavirus.

Fiscal and monetary policy are working in tandem to rebuild the economy. The Reserve Bank of Australia has taken the cash rate near zero and lowering the cost of borrowing with its 0.25% bond yield target. The government has injected tens of billions of dollars into the economy to help tide businesses and households through the lockdown.

With the containment of the health crisis allowing activity to resume, how quickly businesses can get back on their feet, workers regain employment and households resume spending is the critical question.

“The rate of new infections has declined significantly and some restrictions have been eased earlier than was previously thought likely,” RBA Governor Philip Lowe said Tuesday after keeping borrowing costs unchanged.

“However, the outlook, including the nature and speed of the expected recovery, remains highly uncertain and the pandemic is likely to have long-lasting effects on the economy,” he said. “In the period immediately ahead, much will depend on the confidence that people and businesses have about the health situation and their own finances.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Economy

Australia’s Economy Contracts, Ending Three-Decade Expansion – Yahoo Canada Finance

Published

on


Australia’s Economy Contracts, Ending Three-Decade Expansion

View photos

(Bloomberg) — Australia’s economy contracted in the first three months of the year, setting up an end to a nearly 29-year run without a recession as an even deeper slowdown looms for the current quarter.

Gross domestic product fell 0.3% from the final three months of 2019, the first quarterly drop since 2011, brought down by a collapse in household spending, statistics bureau data showed in Sydney Wednesday. Economists had forecast a 0.4% drop. From a year earlier, the economy expanded 1.4%, matching estimates.

The Australian dollar edged a little lower after the release, and traded at 69.32 U.S. cents at 1:06 p.m. in Sydney.

The result sets up an end to Australia’s record run of avoiding two consecutive quarters of shrinking GDP, having dodged recessions during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, the Dot Com Bubble and the 2008 global financial crisis. The current quarter will see a deep contraction, with almost 600,000 jobs lost in April alone and much of the economy in lockdown to contain the coronavirus.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, speaking after the release, accepted this fate when asked directly whether the economy is now in recession.

“The answer to that is yes,” he told reporters. “That is on the basis of the advice that I have from the Treasury Department about where the June quarter is expected to be.”

Fiscal and monetary policy are working in tandem to rebuild the economy. The Reserve Bank of Australia has taken the cash rate near zero and lowered the cost of borrowing with its 0.25% bond yield target. The government has injected tens of billions of dollars into the economy to help tide businesses and households through the lockdown.

With the containment of the health crisis allowing activity to resume, the critical question is how quickly businesses can get back on their feet, workers regain employment and households resume spending.

“Growth should resume in the September quarter, but the impact of COVID-19 will surely cast a long and lingering shadow over the global economy and Australia’s recovery,” said Callam Pickering, an economist at global jobs website Indeed Inc. who previously worked at the central bank. “Continued support from fiscal and monetary policy will be necessary throughout 2020 and beyond.”

Today’s report showed:

Household spending tumbled 1.1%, shaving 0.6 percentage point off GDP, driven by a 2.4% drop in services expenditure. Restrictions particularity impacted spending on travel, hotels, cafes and restaurantsGovernment spending jumped 1.8%, adding 0.3 percentage point. Payments to provide support during the pandemic are expected to rise in the current quarterThe savings ratio advanced to 5.5% from a downwardly revised 3.5% in the fourth quarterDwelling construction fell 1.7%, reflecting continued weakness in approvalsNon-mining business investment fell 1.7%, while mining investment rose 3.6% as miners invest in new technologies and automation

Rising commodity prices are boosting miners’ profitability, with the terms of trade 2.9% higher in the first three months of 2020, pushing the current account surplus to a record A$8.4 billion ($5.8 billion). Yet, miners will be keeping a watchful eye on the nation’s currency, which has surged almost 20% in the past two-and-a-half months.

What Bloomberg’s Economists Say

“Typically backward looking national accounts releases contain an array of hidden trends that are often overlooked. Mining investment has climbed to a 7-year high, Australia’s terms of trade have risen and exploration intentions are elevated. This bodes well for the recovery.”

James McIntyre, economist

The economic outlook is improving as the restrictions are lifted, but will continue to be constrained by closed borders that are hitting tourism and education exports. The government is discussing a fresh round of fiscal stimulus to try to put residential construction back on its feet.

(Updates with Treasurer and economist comments)

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com” data-reactid=”45″>For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.” data-reactid=”46″>Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending