While some of the world’s biggest economies are staging a creditable recovery from the impact of COVID-19, the United Kingdom (UK) finds itself lagging behind many of its rivals in the first three months of 2021.
According to a report released this week by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the UK’s economic output was 8.7 per cent below levels recorded for 2019.
Of note, India, Turkey and, not surprisingly China, came out way ahead of the UK.
The OECD points out that GDP of the G20 has returned to pre-COVID levels in the first quarter of 2021 but there are significant variations across some of these G20 countries.
EUROPE MOST SLUGGISH
Europe appears to be the most sluggish with the UK and Italy down 8.7 per cent and Italy 6.4 per cent respectively.
Taking a look at the European Union and countries that use the euro as their main currency, these saw falls of more than four per cent.
The good news is that year-on year, the G20 grew by 3.4 per cent in the first three months of 2021. The bad news for the UK is, it saw the biggest yearly fall at minus 6 per cent and is now £2 trillion in debt.
The OECD is forecasting global growth of 5.8 per cent this year. There can be little doubt that the UK has been majorly impacted by a confluence of circumstances; Brexit, COVID and the lockdown of its economy for months. Breaking its links with its biggest trading area couldn’t have come at a worse time.
BBC Business Correspondent Theo Leggett writes: “The global economy is slowly recovering but there is still a great deal of uncertainty about the future and the picture can vary wildly from region to region.
“It’s not hard to see why. Although the pandemic has cut a swathe through countries across the world over the past year, there have been big differences in the timing of outbreaks, as well as in the speed and nature of national responses.
“In wealthier countries in particular the progress of vaccination programmes is now providing grounds for optimism that a return to normality is not too far away. But that has to be balanced by concerns about the potential impact of new variants of the virus.”
Countries such as Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, South Korea and Indonesia are staging better recovery efforts than the UK.