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World Bank: COVID-19 recession is expected to be twice as bad as the 2009 financial crisis

Current forecasts suggest that the coronavirus (COVID-19) global recession will be the deepest since World War II, with the largest fraction of economies experiencing declines in per capita output since 1870.Output of emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) is expected to contract in 2020 for the first time in at least 60 years.


Chart 1. Deepest global recession since World War II

The global economy has experienced 14 global recessions since 1870: in 1876, 1885, 1893, 1908, 1914, 1917-21, 1930-32, 1938, 1945-46, 1975, 1982, 1991, 2009, and 2020. The COVID-19 recession will be the deepest since 1945-46, and more than twice as deep as the recession associated with the 2007-09 global financial crisis.

Chart 2. Highest synchronization of national recessions since 1870

In 2020, the highest share of economies will experience contractions in annual per capita gross domestic product (GDP) since 1870. The share will be more than 90% higher than the proportion at the height of the Great Depression of 1930-32.

Economies with contractions in per capita GDP



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