Governments are delivering unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus to combat the economic effects of the Covid-19 outbreak, Fitch Ratings reports.
The rating agency reported that, so far, governments have provided direct fiscal stimulus of US$5 trillion, which represents about 7% of GDP, in the 20 major economies (both developed and emerging markets) covered by its economics review.
Canada’s fiscal efforts are near the top of the range, amounting to 10.2% of GDP; although the U.S. has gone further, with direct fiscal stimulus totalling 11.5% of GDP.
These efforts are well in excess of what governments provided during the global financial crisis, Fitch noted.
“The scale of fiscal easing announced to date, which could increase further, is significantly larger than the fiscal response seen after the global financial crisis, when the advanced economies saw a fiscal easing of around 3%-4% of GDP,” said Marina Stefani, director at Fitch.
Monetary easing has been similarly impressive, Fitch said.
The rating agency reported that new quantitative easing (QE) asset purchases average 8.2% of GDP for the Fitch 20, led by the U.S., at 20.1%.
Canada and the U.K. are expected to reach around 9% of their GDP in QE purchases, Fitch noted.
Additionally, central banks have introduced a wide array of new credit facilities to support both the real economy and the financial sector.
Fitch said that these efforts range from 5% of GDP in Australia to about 10% in Japan and the U.S., and almost 13% in Canada.
“The speed and size of macro policy easing will influence both the intensity of the immediate coronavirus-related macro shock and the pace of the post-crisis economic recovery,” Fitch said.
In emerging markets, the policy response has generally been more restrained than in most developed countries, although countries such as Brazil, Poland and South Africa have launched large fiscal packages in response to the pandemic.