OECD area economic growth slowed in 4Q 2020

The gross domestic product growth of the Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) area slowed to 0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2020 as most countries posted year-on-year declines.

After unprecedented falls in GDP in the first half of 2020 and a rebound in the third quarter, the re-emergence of lockdown measures in late 2020 caused economic growth to slow significantly again in most developed countries.

In the euro area and the European Union, GDP contracted in the fourth quarter of 2020 by -0.6% and -0.4% respectively, following rebounds of 12.4% and 11.5% in the previous quarter.

In the OECD’s major seven economies, GDP growth slowed to 0.8% during the period.

Economic growth remained positive in Japan (3.0%), Canada (1.9%), the United States and the United Kingdom (1.0% in both countries), and Germany (0.1%).

Italy and France, in contrast, saw GDP decline by -2.0% and -1.3%, respectively, after strong bounce-back in the previous quarter of 16.0% and 18.5%.

For the full year 2020, GDP dropped by -4.9% in the OECD area, which is the largest fall ever recorded since the organisation’s inception in 1961.

Almost all countries faced declining GDP in 2020.

Among the Major Seven economies, GDP falls ranged from -3.5% in the United States to -9.9% in the United Kingdom. Marked falls in GDP were also recorded in France -8.2% and Italy -8.9%.

Last week the OECD reported that the unemployment rate in the area was stable at 6.9% in December 2020, remaining 1.7% above the level observed in February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the labour market.

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