Amid a better than expected rebound from Covid-19 lockdowns, the global economic outlook for 2020 is looking a little better than Fitch Ratings first feared.
The rating agency said that it now expects to see global GDP decline by 4.4%, which represents an improvement from the 4.6% decline it anticipated in its June forecast.
The modestly improved outlook follows from a “swifter than anticipated” recovery from the pandemic-driven economic crisis in March and April.
While the economic drop was severe, it was also fairly short-lived, Fitch noted.
As a result, Fitch said it now expects the U.S. economy to contract by 4.6% this year, instead of the 5.6% decline forecast in June.
Fitch’s forecast for China has also improved to 2.7% growth this year, up from 1.2% in June.
The upside revisions for the U.S. and China have been partly offset by cuts to Fitch’s GDP forecasts for the eurozone, the U.K. and emerging markets (excluding China) largely due to a gloomier outlook for India.
“China has already regained its pre-virus level of GDP and retail sales in the U.S., France and the UK now exceed February levels, but we doubt this will become the much-lauded ‘V’-shaped recovery,” said Brian Coulton, Fitch’s chief economist.
“Unemployment shocks lie ahead in Europe, firms are cutting capex, and social distancing continues to directly constrain private-sector spending,” Coulton noted.
Fitch said that governments’ fiscal policy efforts will help offset the weakness in private demand, but added that it now expects the pace of the recovery to slow from late-2020. The rating agency expects that the U.S. won’t return to pre-virus GDP levels until the fourth quarter of 2021.
Fitch also noted that emerging markets “are in many ways facing tougher economic challenges from the pandemic, given more-limited social safety nets and healthcare capacity and less scope for aggressive macro policy easing.”