Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the broadest measure of economic activity, slumped 3.4 percent in the Group of 20 (G20) powerful economies in the first quarter of 2020, the largest contraction on record, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on Thursday.

The Economic Policy body said that the first-quarter decline in G20 economies was more than double the 1.5 percent contraction reported after the financial crisis in 2009.

The confinement and lockdown put in place to stem the spread of coronavirus was the main contributory factor in the January-to-March economic decline, the OECD indicated.

“Among G20 economies, those that introduced stringent lockdowns measures earliest saw the largest contractions in GDP in the first quarter of 2020,” the report observed.

Thus, Chinese GDP was down 9.8 percent in the three-month period, while France and Italy each registered contractions of 5.3 percent.
Germany, Canada and Britain all had GDP contractions of between 2.0 percent and 2.2 percent, while the US economy contracted by 1.3 percent in the first quarter.

Economic performance in the current quarter is also expected to be negatively affected by the pandemic and likely to a worse degree than in the first three months of the year as lockdowns were more widespread in many countries.

G20 countries had a 1.5 percent drop in GDP from the first quarter of 2019 to the same period in 2020.

This followed a year-on-year growth of 2.8 percent in the third quarter of 2019 compared with the third quarter of 2018.

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