Global GDP rebounded from recession in Q3, but COVID-19 threats remain
Economies around the world rebounded at a stronger-than-expected pace in the third quarter from the COVID-19 economic crash, and while a series of vaccine breakthroughs bodes well for global GDP, it could still be months, or in some cases years, before vaccines allow a return to normal economic activity.
All 37 nations with nominal GDP greater than $200 billion that had reported real GDP data by Dec. 7 posted economic growth in the three months to September, a dramatic turnaround from the second quarter, data for which showed that 31 of 34 economies were in recession as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted business activity and dealt a significant blow to consumer confidence.
The U.S. posted record annual growth between July and September after the world’s largest economy reported its worst GDP contraction in the prior three-month period.
The economic recovery in China, the first country into and out of the crisis, continued in the third quarter, with 2.7per cent growth. The world’s second-largest economy was the only one of the 37 countries tracked in this analysis that posted growth in the second quarter.
Malaysia’s GDP expansion was the most pronounced in Asia in the three months to September, at 18.2per cent, while France topped the European chart, with 18.7per cent growth.
Markets cheered a flood of positive vaccine news toward the end of 2020, including the U.K. on Dec. 8 beginning mass inoculation against COVID-19, but the World Bank flagged multiple challenges in vaccinating the entire world, such as potentially reduced take-up rates and transportation capacity issues.
“The take-up rate is a crucial variable to consider in the quest to achieve herd immunity,” Damien de Walque, senior economist of the Development Research Group at the World Bank, and Adanna Chukwuma, health specialist at the World Bank, wrote Nov. 19.
They said that 77.7per cent of people must take a vaccine that has 90per centefficacy to achieve the 70per cent herd immunity threshold, but a survey published in October showed that the percentage of people willing to take a vaccine ranged from nearly 55per cent in Russia to about 89per cent in China. A Pew survey published in September suggested that 49per cent of American adults would refuse a vaccine.