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Recovery hopes dashed for India's recession-hit economy: Reuters poll – The Journal Pioneer

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By Indradip Ghosh and Shaloo Shrivastava

BENGALURU (Reuters) – India’s deepest recession on record will linger through the rest of this year and begin to lift only in early 2021 as a rapid surge in the coronavirus spread squelches a nascent rebound in consumption and business activity, a Reuters poll showed.

New Delhi has already set aside $266 billion of economic rescue spending and the Reserve Bank of India has slashed interest rates by 115 basis points since March, suggesting more is required to shield the economy from the pandemic-induced disruptions to businesses and livelihoods.

The coronavirus is spreading faster in India than anywhere else in the world, with more than 3.3 million people already infected and related deaths at over 60,000. COVID-19 has kept tens of millions of people shut indoors and made many millions jobless in the world’s second most populous country.

“Although this might be the low point in the ongoing crisis, the rapid increase in infections this quarter provides no hope of a near-term recovery,” said Prakash Sakpal, senior Asia economist at ING.

“The macro policy has hit a snag amid stretched public finances and rising inflation. This means pretty much nothing can save the economy from continued deep declines for the rest of the year.”

With business activity completely stalled for the most part in the previous quarter owing to a nationwide lockdown to contain the virus’ spread, the Indian economy likely shrank 18.3% during that period, according to the August 18-27 poll of over 50 economists.

While that was slightly better than the 20.0% contraction predicted in the previous poll, it would still be the weakest rate by far since official reporting for quarterly data began in the mid-1990s.

The economy is forecast to contract 8.1% in the current quarter and 1.0% in the next – a downgrade from 6.0% and 0.3% contraction, respectively, predicted in a July 29 poll, dashing hopes of a recovery this year.

Asia’s third-largest economy is expected to grow again in the first three months of 2021, by 3.0%.

For a graphic on Reuters Poll: India economic growth and monetary policy outlook:

https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/polling/oakpeoozkpr/India%20economic%20growth%20and%20monetary%20policy%20outlook.PNG

But that will still leave it down 6.0% for the fiscal year that ends in March, which would be the worst 12-month performance on record, blowing out -5.2% for calendar year 1979, during the second Iran oil crisis. That latest forecast was revised down from a median forecast of -5.1% last month.

Under a worst-case scenario, the contraction for each of those periods was expected to be much deeper than predictions from last month as well as the latest base-case consensus.

For a graphic on Reuters Poll: India economic growth outlook:

https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/polling/jznpnxxbmpl/India%20economic%20outlook.PNG

While there have been some signs of recovery, with an increase in agricultural produce on good monsoon rains and targeted government spending, a majority of other businesses continue to show weak performance.

The RBI unexpectedly paused last month on rising inflation concerns.

While the consensus showed the central bank was expected to ease once more next quarter by 25 basis points, taking its repo rate to 3.75%, a significant minority of economists, or 20 of 51, predicted the RBI to stay on the sidelines this year.

Asked when Indian GDP would reach pre-COVID-19 levels, over 80% of economists, or 30 of 36, said it was likely to take more than a year, including nine who predicted it to take more than two years.

“The outlook for economic growth is bleak and there are now signs that the post-lockdown recovery has stalled before it ever really got going,” said Darren Aw, Asia economist at Capital Economics, in Singapore.

(For other stories from the Reuters global long-term economic outlook polls package:)

(Reporting by Indradip Ghosh; Polling by Shaloo Shrivastava, Tushar Goenka and Manzer Hussain; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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Swedish government promises $12 billion to kick-start economy in 2021 budget – The Journal Pioneer

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By Simon Johnson

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s government will pump 105 billion crowns ($12 billion) into the economy in 2021 through tax cuts and spending in a record giveaway aimed at getting the economy back on its feet after the coronavirus pandemic-induced slump.

Sweden’s economy will shrink around 4.6% this year, the minority coalition said its budget on Monday, a milder hit than many other European countries, some of which are being forced to re-impose COVID restrictions after a surge in new cases.

“Economic policy is going into a new phase,” Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson told reporters. “It is about a record-large budget to restart the Swedish economy: 100 billion so that we can work our way out of the crisis.”

The Social Democrat and Green coalition said the budget would focus would be on boosting jobs, welfare and supporting the switch to a carbon-free future.

Most measures, agreed with two small, centre-right parties which help keep the coalition in power, were already known.

Individuals and companies will get a tax cut and local authorities and welfare services more cash while around 10 billion crowns will go toward fighting climate change.

The budget is expected to create around 75,000 jobs.

LONG TERM WINNERS

While Sweden looks to have got off relatively lightly economically in the short term, analysts caution that it is too early to pick the longer term winners and losers from the pandemic.

Much will depend on how government largesse, including Europe’s 750 billion euro recovery find, is spent.

Sweden also faces a number of structural challenges, not least in the labour market where unemployment among young people and immigrants is uncomfortably high.

A dysfunctional housing market also threatens long-term economic stability while funding the country’s comprehensive welfare model as society as a whole ages will require a huge increase in productivity.

The government has promised to keep the taps open, at least for the next few years – tax cuts and spending will boost the economy by 85 billion in 2022.

But with a general election due that year, longer term policies remain unclear. The last national vote resulted an a virtual stalemate between the centre-left and centre-right blocs and there is little evidence that voters are any clearer about what they want now.

(Reporting by Simon Johnson, additional reporting by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Niklas Pollard and Toby Chopra)

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US household wealth hits record even as economy struggles – CKPGToday.ca

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By Canadian Press

Sep 21, 2020 9:07 AM

WASHINGTON — Americans’ household wealth rebounded last quarter to a record high as the stock market quickly recovered from a pandemic-induced plunge in March. Yet the gains flowed mainly to the most affluent households even as tens of millions of people endured job losses and shrunken incomes.

The Federal Reserve said Monday that American households’ net worth jumped nearly 7% in the April-June quarter to $119 trillion. That figure had sunk to $111.3 trillion in the first quarter, when the coronavirus battered the economy and sent stock prices tumbling.

Since then, the S&P 500 stock index has regained its record high before losing some ground this month. It was up 2.8% for this year as of Friday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq has soared more than 20% this year.

The full recovery of wealth even while the economy has recovered only about half the jobs lost to the pandemic recession underscores what many economists see as America’s widening economic inequality. Data compiled by Opportunity Insights, a research group, show that the highest-paying one-third of jobs have almost fully recovered from the recession, while the lowest-paying one-third of jobs remain 16% below pre-pandemic levels.

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US household wealth hits record even as economy struggles – meadowlakeNOW

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By Canadian Press

Sep 21, 2020 10:06 AM

WASHINGTON — Americans’ household wealth rebounded last quarter to a record high as the stock market quickly recovered from a pandemic-induced plunge in March. Yet the gains flowed mainly to the most affluent households even as tens of millions of people endured job losses and shrunken incomes.

The Federal Reserve said Monday that American households’ net worth jumped nearly 7% in the April-June quarter to $119 trillion. That figure had sunk to $111.3 trillion in the first quarter, when the coronavirus battered the economy and sent stock prices tumbling.

Since then, the S&P 500 stock index has regained its record high before losing some ground this month. It was up 2.8% for this year as of Friday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq has soared more than 20% this year.

The full recovery of wealth even while the economy has recovered only about half the jobs lost to the pandemic recession underscores what many economists see as America’s widening economic inequality. Data compiled by Opportunity Insights, a research group, show that the highest-paying one-third of jobs have almost fully recovered from the recession, while the lowest-paying one-third of jobs remain 16% below pre-pandemic levels.

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