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OECD Interim Economic AssessmentCoronavirus The world economy at risk2 March 2020Summary The coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has already brought considerable human suffering and major economic disruption. Output contractions in China are being felt around the world, reflecting the key and rising role China has in global supply chains, travel and commodity markets. Subsequent outbreaks in other economies are having similar effects, albeit on a smaller scale. Growth prospects remain highly uncertain.  On the assumption that the epidemic peaks in China in the first quarter of 2020 and outbreaks in other countries prove mild and contained, global growth could be lowered by around ½ percentage point this year relative to that expected in the November 2019 Economic Outlook.  Accordingly, annual global GDP growth is projected to drop to 2.4 in 2020 as a whole, from an already weak 2.9 in 2019, with growth possibly even being negative in the first quarter of 2020.  Prospects for China have been revised markedly, with growth slipping below 5 this year, before recovering to over 6 in 2021, as output returns gradually to the levels projected before the outbreak.  The adverse impact on confidence, financial markets, the travel sector and disruption to supply chains contributes to the downward revisions in all G20 economies in 2020, particularly ones strongly interconnected to China, such as Japan, Korea and Australia.  Provided the effects of the virus outbreak fade as assumed, the impact on confidence and incomes of well-targeted policy actions in the most exposed economies could help global GDP growth recover to 3¼ per cent in 2021.  A longer lasting and more intensive coronavirus outbreak, spreading widely throughout the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and North America, would weaken prospects considerably. In this event, global growth could drop to 1½ per cent in 2020, half the rate projected prior to the virus outbreak. Governments need to act swiftly and forcefully to overcome the coronavirus and its economic impact.  Governments need to ensure effective and well-resourced public health measures to prevent infection and contagion, and implement well-targeted policies to support health care systems and workers, and protect the incomes of vulnerable social groups and businesses during the virus outbreak.  Supportive macroeconomic policies can help to restore confidence and aid the recovery of demand as virus outbreaks ease, but cannot offset the immediate disruptions that result from enforced shutdowns and travel restrictions.  If downside risks materialise, and growth appears set to be much weaker for an extended period, co-ordinated multilateral actions to ensure effective health policies, containment and mitigation measures, support low-income economies, and jointly raise fiscal spending would be the most effective means of restoring confidence and supporting incomes. CORONAVIRUS THE WORLD ECONOMY AT RISK 2  Global economic prospects remain subdued and very uncertain due to the coronavirus outbreak The coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak has already brought considerable human suffering and major economic disruption. In China, containment efforts have involved quarantines and widespread restrictions on labour mobility and travel, resulting in unplanned delays in restarting factories after the Lunar New Year holiday and sharp cutbacks in many service sector activities. These measures imply a sizeable output contraction whilst the effects of the outbreak persist. Subsequent outbreaks in other countries, including Korea and Italy, have also prompted containment measures such as quarantines and border closures, albeit on a smaller scale. The adverse consequences of these developments for other countries are significant, including the direct disruption to global supply chains, weaker final demand for imported goods and services, and the wider regional declines in international tourism and business travel. Risk aversion has increased in financial markets, with the US 10-year interest rate falling to a record low and equity prices declining sharply, commodity prices have dropped, and business and consumer confidence have turned down. 2019I n t e r im E O p r o je c t io n sD if f e r e n c e f r o m N o v e m b e r E OI n t e r im E O p r o je c t io n sD if f e r e n c e f r o m N o v e m b e r E OW o r ld12 .9 2 .4 - 0 .5 3 .3 0 .3G 2 01, 23 .1 2 .7 - 0 .5 3 .5 0 .2A u s t r a li a 1 .7 1 .8 - 0 .5 2 .6 0 .3C a n a d a 1 .6 1 .3 - 0 .3 1 .9 0 .2E u r o a r e a 1 .2 0 .8 - 0 .3 1 .2 0 .0Ge r m an y 0 .6 0 .3 - 0 .1 0 .9 0 .0F r a n c e 1 .3 0 .9 - 0 .3 1 .4 0 .2I t a ly 0 .2 0 .0 - 0 .4 0 .5 0 .0J a p a n 0 .7 0 .2 - 0 .4 0 .7 0 .0K o r e a 2 .0 2 .0 - 0 .3 2 .3 0 .0M e x ic o - 0 .1 0 .7 - 0 .5 1 .4 - 0 .2T u r k e y 0 .9 2 .7 - 0 .3 3 .3 0 .1U n it e d Ki n g d o m 1 .4 0 .8 - 0 .2 0 .8 - 0 .4U n it e d S t a t e s 2 .3 1 .9 - 0 .1 2 .1 0 .1A r g e n t in a - 2 .7 - 2 .0 - 0 .3 0 .7 0 .0B r a zi l 1 .1 1 .7 0 .0 1 .8 0 .0C h in a 6 .1 4 .9 - 0 .8 6 .4 0 .9I n d ia34 .9 5 .1 - 1 .1 5 .6 - 0 .8I n d o n e s ia 5 .0 4 .8 - 0 .2 5 .1 0 .0R u s s ia 1 .0 1 .2 - 0 .4 1 .3 - 0 .1S a u d i A r a b ia 0 .0 1 .4 0 .0 1 .9 0 .5S o u t h A f r ic a 0 .3 0 .6 - 0 .6 1 .0 - 0 .31 . A g g r e g a t e u si n g m o v i n g n o m i n a l G D P w e i g h t s a t p u r ch a si n g p o w e r p a r i t i e s.2 . T h e E u r o p e a n U n i o n i s a f u l l m e m b e r o f t h e G 2 0 , b u t t h e G 2 0 a g g r e g a t e o n l y i n cl u d e s co u n t r i e s t h a t a r e a l so m e m b e r s i n t h e i r o w n r i g h t .3 . F i sca l y e a r s, st a r t i n g i n A p r i l .O EC D I n te r i m Ec o n o m i c O u tl o o k F o r e c a s ts , 2 M a r c h 2 0 2 0R e a l G D P grow t hY ea r-on -yea r ch a n ge2020 2021N o t e P r o j e ct i o n b a se d o n i n f o r m a t i o n a v a i l a b l e u p t o F e b r u a r y 2 8 . D i f f e r e n ce f r o m N o v e m b e r 2 0 1 9 E co n o m i c O u t l o o k i n p e r ce n t a g e p o i n t s, b a se d o n r o u n d e d f i g u r e s.  3 Relative to similar episodes in the past, such as the SARS outbreak in 2003, the global economy has become substantially more interconnected, and China plays a far greater role in global output, trade, tourism and commodity markets Figure 1. This magnifies the economic spillovers to other countries from an adverse shock in China. Even if the peak of the outbreak proves short-lived, with a gradual recovery in output and demand over the next few months, it will still exert a substantial drag on global growth in 2020. Figure 1. China accounts for a rising share of global activity Note Share of industry, GDP and trade in constant US dollars. Share of global FDI in current US dollars. Data for the tourist share refer to 2002 and 2017, and data for FDI refer to 2005 and 2018. Industry data are on a value-added basis and include the construction sector. Source OECD Economic Outlook database; OECD FDI in Figures, October 2019; and World Bank. Signs of stabilisation had appeared prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, although economic activity remained weak Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, activity data remained soft but survey indicators had begun to stabilise or improve in both manufacturing and services Figure 2. Financial conditions had also strengthened following moves to increase monetary policy accommodation and reduce trade policy tensions. Preliminary estimates suggest that global GDP growth slowed further in the fourth quarter of 2019, to just over 2½ per cent at an annualised rate on a PPP basis Figure 2, with strikes, social unrest and natural disasters affecting activity in a number of countries. Growth remained close to trend in the United States, but demand fell sharply in Japan following the consumption tax increase in October and stayed weak in economies strongly exposed to the slowdown in global trade, including Germany. Growth continued to be subdued in many emerging market economies, with GDP growth slowly easing in China and large non-performing loans and over-leveraged corporate balance sheets weighing on investment in India. Industrial production continued to stagnate in late 2019, and the growth of consumer spending lost momentum despite continued steady employment gains. The pace of the decline in global car sales moderated through 2019, but demand has subsequently tumbled again, with provisional data suggesting a monthly decline of 10 in sales in January 2020, with a 20 decline in China. Global trade also remains very weak. Merchandise trade volumes contracted in the fourth quarter of 2019, and declined in 2019 as a whole, the first calendar year fall since 2009 Figure 3, Panel A. Container port traffic and air freight traffic were also weak ahead of the coronavirus outbreak, and further sharp falls seem likely in the near term. Survey measures of manufacturing new export orders had begun to turn up but fell back in the flash PMI surveys for February, particularly in Japan and Australia. Investment data are also soft, held back in part by continued high uncertainty and weak expected future growth. Aggregate investment growth in the G20 economies excluding China slowed from an annual rate of 5 early in 2018 to only 1 last year. 4  Figure 2. Global growth has lost momentum Note GDP at constant prices on a PPP basis. Data for the fourth quarter of 2019 are an estimate. The advanced economy PMI series are a PPP-weighted average for Australia, the euro area, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Source OECD Economic Outlook database; and Markit. The higher tariffs imposed on US-China bilateral trade over the past two years are an important factor behind the weakness of global demand, trade and investment. The US-China “Phase One” trade agreement in January is a welcome development that should help to alleviate some of these effects. Nonetheless, the commitment by China to purchase an additional cumulative USD 200 billion of goods and services from the United States over 2020-21 relative to a 2017 baseline of around USD 180 billion will be challenging to achieve without distorting third-party trade, and bilateral tariffs remain substantially higher than two years ago. Overall, the Phase One agreement reduces the drag on global GDP growth in 2020 and 2021 from the measures implemented over the past two years by around 0.1 percentage point per annum Figure 3, Panel B. Figure 3. Global trade remains weak, with a continued drag from trade tensions Note. Estimates in Panel B show the combined impact of the changes in bilateral tariffs implemented by the United States and China in 2019 prior to and after the Phase One Agreement and a global rise of 50 basis points in investment risk premia that persists for three years before slowly fading thereafter. All tariff shocks are maintained for six years. Based on simulations on NiGEM in forward-looking mode. Source CPB; IATA; RWI/ISL Container Throughput Index; and OECD calculations using the NiGEM global macroeconomic model.  5 The coronavirus outbreak has significantly weakened near-term global economic prospects Since the outbreak in January, close to 85,000 people have been infected worldwide, with a fast-rising share of these outside China. The epicentre of the outbreak was in Hubei province, which accounts for about 4.5 of China’s output, but the effects have been quickly apparent throughout China with efforts to control the spread of the virus leading to wide-ranging restrictions on passenger transportation, labour mobility and hours worked. Available indicators for February point to significant declines in activity inside China, and the tentative signs of a mild improvement towards the end of the month appear unlikely to be rapid enough to prevent the level of output in the first quarter of 2020 being lower than in the fourth quarter of 2019. Production declines in China have been quickly felt by businesses around the world, given China’s key role in global supply chains as a producer of intermediate goods, particularly in computers, electronics, pharmaceuticals and transport equipment, and as the primary source of demand for many commodities. Temporary supply disruptions can be met by using inventories, but inventory levels are lean due to just-in-time manufacturing processes and alternative suppliers cannot easily be obtained for specialised parts. A prolonged delay in restoring full production in affected regions would add to the weakness in manufacturing sectors in many countries, given the time it takes to ship supplies around the world. Travel restrictions, and the cancellation of many planned visits, flights, business and leisure events are severely affecting many service sectors. This is likely to persist for some time. Worldwide, Chinese tourists account for around one-tenth of all cross-border visitors, and one-quarter or more of all visitors in Japan, Korea and some smaller Asian economies Figure 4, Panel A. Exports of travel services to China, including the spending by Chinese visitors, are also significant in many countries Figure 4, Panel B. The virtual cessation of outbound tourism from China represents a sizeable near-term adverse demand shock. This is already apparent in many destinations; visitor arrivals in Hong Kong, China in February were 95 lower than usual. If the spread of the coronavirus outbreak affects visitor numbers more widely across the major economies, there would be sizeable costs, with tourism accounting directly for 4¼ per cent of GDP in the OECD economies and almost 7 of employment. Figure 4. Chinese visitors account for a rising share of visits and tourist spending in many economies Note Panel A data for Japan and Korea are for the first 11 months of 2019; data for Australia are for the year to June 2012 and June 2019; data for France, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and the United States are for 2018; data for Indonesia are for 2017. Panel B data for Singapore and Thailand are for spending by foreign tourists in the country. Data for Hong Kong, China and Iceland are for 2017. Source OECD Economic Outlook database; OECD Trade in Services by Partner Country; Austrade; Eurostat; Direction Générale des Enterprises; Japan National Tourism Organisation; Korea Tourism Organisation; Tourism Malaysia; New Zealand Statistics Office; Philippines Department of Trade and Industry; Singapore Tourism Board; Statistics Canada; Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Thailand; US International Trade Administration; Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. 6  Global growth is set to weaken this year and recover gradually in 2021 Growth prospects are very uncertain. The projections are based on the assumption that the epidemic peaks in China in the first quarter of 2020, with a gradual recovery through the second quarter aided by significant domestic policy easing. Together with the recent marked deterioration in global finan