OECD: GDP accelerates but remains below pre-pandemic levels

Economic growth in OECD countries remains below pre-pandemic levels, despite a gross domestic product increase of 1.6% in the second quarter, compared to 0.6% in the first three months of 2021.

Provisional OECD estimates show the UK recorded the strongest quarterly growth at 4.8%, up from -1.6% in the first quarter. Italy’s economic activity increased by 2.7% in the second quarter.

However, the UK and Italian economies have the most catching up to do as their cumulative growth rates since the fourth quarter of 2019, before the pandemic, are -4.4% and -3.8%, respectively.

The United States is the only G7 economy that already returned to pre-pandemic levels in the second quarter of 2021, with GDP exceeding the pre-pandemic level by 0.8%.

The major seven economies expanded in the second quarter but at a lower level than the UK and Italy.

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In both the US and Germany, GDP grew by 1.6%, compared with 1.5% and -2.0% respectively in the previous quarter. In France and Japan GDP increased by 0.9% and 0.3% respectively, after 0.0%, and -0.9% in the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, economic growth in Canada slowed to 0.6% from 1.4% in the first three months.

In the euro area and the European Union, GDP growth turned positive in the second quarter of 2021, to 2.0% and 1.9% respectively, after the economy shrank by -0.3% and -0.1% in the previous quarter.

Composite leading indicators (CLIs), a selection of qualitative market indicators, show the pace of economic growth is moderating across the G7.

In the emerging countries, growth remains steady in China and stable in India, but it is slowing in Brazil and moderating in Russia, the OECD reported, on the basis of respective leading indicators earlier this month.

The organisation noted that the gradual lifting of COVID-19 containment measures and the remaining uncertainties remained the single most important factor for leading indicator development.

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