Economics & Finance

The coronavirus’ horrendous impact on Eurozone economy is growing clearer as GDP shrinks 3.8%

The eurozone economy in the first three months of the year declined at its fastest rate on record, shrinking by 3.8%, according to the preliminary estimates from Eurostat on Thursday.

The data follows the release of stark data in the US on Wednesday, which showed gross domestic product there shrank at an annualized rate of 4.8% in the first quarter.

The economies of France and Spain shrank dramatically, confirming that tough lockdown measures, which largely weren’t introduced until March, had an immediate impact in countries that use the euro. Germany in March recorded its largest fall in retail sales since 2007.

Here’s the latest on the economic upheaval for some of the top economies of the eurozone:

France sees its largest drop in GDP since 1949

France’s gross domestic product in the first quarter shrank by 5.8%, its most since at least 1949, knocked down by containment measures meant to mitigate the coronavirus crisis.

The GDP contraction was even bigger than figures recorded in the first quarter of 2009, a 1.6% decline during the global financial crisis, and in the second quarter of 1968 — a time of unrest when 10 million French workers went on a general strike — a 5.3% decline.

The French statistics body INSEE on Thursday said France’s “negative evolution” was primarily linked to the shuttering of nonessential activities since mid-March.

Screenshot 2020 04 30 at 09.34.13
France’s gross domestic product and its main components. 

Spain loses over 5% of its GDP in Q1

Spanish GDP declined by 5.2% in the first quarter of 2020, compared with a growth of 0.6% in the same quarter last year, according to preliminary data from the National Statistics Institute. The Financial Times reports this figure to be the largest fall since records began in 1949.

On average, analysts had expected a 4% quarterly decline for both French and Spanish GDP, the Financial Times said.

Screenshot 2020 04 30 at 09.38.31
Spanish GDP declined by 5.2% in the first quarter of 2020. 

German retail sales plunge as shoppers stay home

German monthly retail sales plunged at their fastest level since 2007 as shops remained closed and turnover fell dramatically in individual retail trade branches.

Retail sales in March fell by 5.6% versus an expected 7.3% decline. On an annualized basis, the country’s retail sales fell by 2.8% in March versus an increase of 6.5% in February, data from the statistics office Destatista showed.

The surge in sales in February was direct evidence of households stockpiling before the lockdown, authorities said.

Germany also warned of the biggest economic slump in its history this year, pushing the eurozone’s top economy into a painful coronavirus-led recession, the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported on Wednesday.

“We will experience the worst recession in the history of the Federal Republic” — which was founded in 1949 — Germany’s economy minister, Peter Altmaier, said in Berlin, adding that Germany’s GDP was set to decline by 6.3% in 2020, Deutsche Welle said.

GDP data for Germany is scheduled for release on May 15.

Source: Business Insider

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