France in recession and Spain sees record GDP decline
Saturday, 05 02 2020, Category: Economy, Country: Europe
France and Italy entered a recession in the first three months of this year while Spain's GDP plunged sharply, new data on COVID-19's impact on European economies indicates.
The preliminary growth figures for Europe come just a day after US authorities revealed the country's GDP had contracted for the first time since 2014.
French GDP fell by 5.8 per cent in the first quarter, "the biggest drop" since 1949 the country's INSEE statistics agency said on Thursday as it unveiled its first estimate.
It flagged for instance that the decrease is much sharper than the 1.6% contraction observed in the first quarter of 2009 when the financial crisis hit.
"GDP’s negative evolution in Q1 2020 is primarily linked to the shut-down of 'non-essential' activities in the context of the implementation of the lockdown since mid-March," INSEE said.
The Spanish economy contracted by 5.2 per cent compared the previous quarter, the INE statistics agency said on Thursday.
This is the worst reading since records began in the 1970s.
"The situation caused by COVID-19 in Spain and the impact of measures taken to protect the health of the population since March have introduced an extraordinary difficulty to measure the economic evolution of the whole of the quarter," INE flagged in a statement accompanying its flash estimate.
Spain is the third most impacted country in Europe behind Italy and the UK. More than 24,200 people are now to have died from the virus in the country.