France sinks deeper into recession, with 14% GDP hit in 2Q

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France's economy contracted by a record 13.8% in the second quarter of 2020 under the impact of the coronavirus lockdown, according to the national statistics institute INSEE.

In the first quarter of this year, when the U.S. officially entered recession in February, the economy shrank 5 percent from the same period a year ago.

Many economists note that the economy can't fully recover until the coronavirus is defeated - a point stressed Wednesday at a news conference by US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

The German economy, in common with most others, has been hit very hard by the pandemic and the restrictions that have been imposed in an effort to contain it. "These were also by far the sharpest declines since time series started in 1995", the release said.

However, it will benefit considerably from the historic 750-billion-euro rescue plan that was agreed by the European Union's 27 member states on July 21.

But personal income got a boost of $1.4 trillion in the quarter from the government emergency spending measures that provided payroll funds for businesses and direct unemployment payments to workers. It was the 19th straight week that more than 1 million people have applied for jobless aid. Major companies such as Lufthansa, Daimler and Airbus have said they will cut thousands of jobs.

"Not too bad!" tweeted Allianz chief economist Ludovic Subran.

There was a huge drop in GDP also in Germany, Europe's biggest economy.

"It will take a while to get back to the levels of economic activity and employment that prevailed at the beginning of this year, and it will take continued support from both monetary and fiscal policy to achieve that", Powell warned in a news conference. The EU powerhouse said its economy shrank by 10.1 per cent, compared to 5.7 per cent in the aftermath of the 2009 crisis.

Spain, which relies heavily on tourism, expressed its frustration at the United Kingdom this week, after the British government introduced a 14-day quarantine on people returning from the popular summer vacation destination.

"Beyond this initial bounce, the recovery is set to be gradual and uneven", with pre-virus output regained only by mid-2022, she said, adding that "recent flare-ups of the virus in several European countries risk derailing this recovery". But by either measure, this is the largest quarterly decline since such figures were first recorded in 1947. Meanwhile, the lowest decline was recorded in Lithuania (-5.1%). The pain has been so damaging to jobs and industries that the government is talking down the possibility of another nationwide lockdown as infections tick upward again.

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