LOCKDOWN: ONE YEAR ON
The global economy was hit hard last year by lockdowns, although the regional impact was extremely uneven. Asia ex-Japan was by far the best-performing region, chiefly due to North-East Asian economies such as China, Korea and Taiwan. All three controlled the pandemic swiftly, supporting domestic activity, and also benefited from booming global demand for electronics. At the other end of the spectrum, Europe and Latin America were the worst performers, hit by tough, prolonged Covid-19 restrictions, and—in the case of some Latin American nations—limited fiscal and monetary support. Looking at individual countries, China was by far the best-performing major economy, while in the West the United States stood out, bolstered by giant fiscal support and relatively lax restrictions. Most of the damage to global activity came at the start of the pandemic. While many countries experienced second waves towards the end of 2020 and reinstated restrictions, the economic impact was much milder than in the spring, as firms and consumers were betted adapted. Lingering restrictions have kept a lid on momentum in many economies at the outset of 2021.