The world’s largest economies on both sides of the Atlantic have a good chance of recovering the lost ground caused by the coronavirus pandemic by the end of the year, much faster than economists had previously feared. Economists have revised up their forecasts for US and eurozone economic performance after data this week showed both economies displaying more resilience than had been expected.
US household spending is beginning to show the effects of Joe Biden’s $1.9tn stimulus, and the eurozone’s first-quarter contraction due to the latest wave of Covid-19 was smaller than economists had expected, figures published on Friday showed. The bloc’s progress in rolling out vaccinations is expected to boost consumer spending in the coming months as service sector businesses reopen.
As a result, the likelihood is growing that both economies will regain their pre-pandemic level of output before the end of the year — a sharp improvement from the IMF’s April forecasts, which suggested this would not happen until well into 2022. After the data were published, James Knightley, chief international economist at ING bank, said: “Wowzers, the US economy is hot.” Giada Giani of Citi said that European indicators had been “much stronger in April than we had anticipated”.
Thursday’s first-quarter US growth figures left the economy’s output only 0.9 per cent below its pre-pandemic peak and Washington’s stimulus cheques boosted households’ incomes by much more than expenditure rose, leaving significant unspent resources.