COVID-19 The Road to Economic Recovery – Thematic Research

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Global economy forecast sees strong upward revision as vaccinations gather pace. GlobalData forecasts a 6% increase in global GDP in 2021.  But the recovery remains uncertain and will depend on the continued successful distribution of the vaccines and supportive measures from governments. Vaccination continues to create economic optimism. In the UK, a successful vaccination roll-out has led to the lifting of almost all restrictions. However, the world has not seen off the pandemic. Questions remain on to which extent immunity created by the vaccine in the community is sufficient to avoid the third wave.

What are the top economic predictions for 2021?

Shift towards mass vaccination to fuel economic growth

The global economy is projected to grow at a record pace. Vaccinations are underway and are expected to be widely available to large populations by mid-2021 resulting in a V-shaped recovery for most major economies. The virus is, however, unlikely to go away and the outlook will remain dependent on the effective distribution of the vaccines.

Growth will be uneven

The recovery will be uneven across countries, sectors, and income levels. Developing nations will have added challenges such as a reduction in remittances on top of increasing fiscal deficit and gross debt. Most nations will see an exacerbation in income inequalities, with most job losses occurring at the bottom end of the earnings distribution.

Accommodative monetary policy to continue

Governments will continue to implement suitable fiscal and monetary measures in order to revive the affected economies. The Fed has vowed to maintain ultra-low interest rates and continue hefty asset purchases until “substantial further progress has been made”. Additional stimulus plans will expedite the debt buildup in 2021.

Which countries lead the number of vaccinations?

China has administered the most single doses of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, followed by the US and India. However, the US has lost its position in the top 10 countries globally in the vaccination rate per 1,000 population. Gibraltar has administered the most single doses of COVID-19 vaccine per 1,000 population worldwide, followed by the UAE and Seychelles.

Globally, Gibraltar has the largest percentage of its population to have received all required doses of the prescribed vaccine followed by Seychelles and San Marino. Gibraltar has the unusual distinction of vaccinating over 100% of its population most likely because it is administering doses to individuals who are traveling to Gibraltar for vacation or for work but are not technically counted as residents, thus the vaccination rate can be 100%.

Top countries/regions, by vaccination

Top countries/regions, by vaccination

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What are the regional trends in the economic recovery road map?

Global economy is expected to revive in 2021 due to mass vaccine rollout. V-shaped economic recovery is expected in most G20 nations in 2021 as vaccinations are rolled out across economies coupled with the easing of restrictions. G7 economies forecast to witness varying GDP growth in Q3 2021. Major economies are expected to witness growth in the next three to six months with the reopening of economies and easing of lockdown restrictions.

All nations, developed and emerging alike, are set to grow in 2021. The speed of the recovery will, however, vary across regions; some countries have suffered more during the pandemic than others, whereas some are more dependent on sectors such as tourism, which are likely to remain weak for some time. Asian nations are expected to recover faster than their Western peers. China returned to pre-crisis levels while Portugal, Italy, and Spain struggled in 2020. Recovery in the Americas is expected to speed up from the second quarter of 2021 as vaccine rollout picks up the pace and foreign investment starts ramping up, supported by accommodative monetary policies.

The US and the UK see a strong upward revision of real GDP growth driven by the success of its vaccination programs and strong stimulus measures. Germany and France are rapidly catching up with the US and the UK in vaccine deployment. This has led to an upward revision of GDP for those countries.

What are the sector trends in the economic recovery road map?

Pharma and medical sector’s recovery is based on the availability of an effective treatment or vaccine and the continued recovery of elective surgical procedures and restoration of home healthcare. The Tech industry’s valuation reflects increased demand for telecoms services, security solutions, and cloud-based tools, and speculation that any recovery will require significant technology adoption.

Retail stock prices are holding up better than others; markets expect a quicker return to normal than other sectors. Mining companies have benefited from rising prices for gold and other metals. In energy markets, Power has fared much better than Oil & Gas. Sustainable energy use increased during lockdowns and may feature in many stimulus packages. Oil & Gas’s short-term woes may continue long into the future if this shift to renewables materializes. Continued economic uncertainty could have profound effects on global construction.

Despite major shifts away from on-premises to delivery services, foodservice is hit due to lockdown restrictions. Travel & tourism is one of the hardest hits of all sectors. Confidence in the sector remains low as concerns about the length of the recovery period continue to grow. This continues to spill over to aerospace, but the pain is partially mitigated here via exposure to Defense. Automotive performance, in a down market, can be attributed to the hype around the electric vehicle market’s prospects.

Key Highlights

According to Johns Hopkins University data, by 12 July 2021, COVID-19 had infected more than 181 million people and claimed more than 3,900,000 lives. The pandemic forced governments to impose rigid lockdowns that essentially shut down the worldwide economy for many months. With the exception of India and China, all major economies are expected to shrink this year. Unemployment levels have increased at jaw-dropping rates.

The COVID-19 recession has not been caused by a demand shock, rather, it is a policy-driven supply shock designed to save people’s lives. Consequently, the strategies—of governments and companies—that will be used in the economic recovery could be different from previous recessions.

Despite the substantial uncertainty regarding the economic downturn, this could well be the first recovery with a focus on sustainability. The human cost of COVID-19 extends beyond infection and into the broader economy. Companies that ignore social, environmental and governance issues could face significant customer backlash. Governments are already showing signs that sustainability—particularly green energy—will feature strongly in stimulus programs.

The way we live our lives has been changed permanently. However, the extent to which human life will change will be affected by two competing factors: the longevity of COVID-19’s presence and the speed with which a vaccine is developed. Most enterprises successfully transitioned to work from home; few will revert back to pre-COVID-19 practices.

Reasons to Buy

  • Up-to-date insights on the performance of major economies.
  • GlobalData’s proprietary economic recovery scorecard, which ranks the top 35 countries’ performance on the 10 most important economic indicators.
  • Updates on high-frequency macroeconomic indicators such as GDP, inflation, business confidence, consumer confidence, industrial production, and equity markets.
  • In-depth analysis of the economic performance of the world’s largest economies.
  • Can be used as a strategic tool to understand market dynamics, business potential, and direction of operations in the economy.

Table of Contents

Contents Introduction

Key messages

Economic recovery scorecard

Stimulus packages

COVID-19 infection update

Economic Recovery

GDP and inflation

Interest rates

Sector indices



Macroeconomic forecast

Country dashboards


Frequently asked questions

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