In France, Italy, Spain, Virus Wiped Out Years of Growth

Spanish economy shrank 18.5% in 2nd quarter
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 31, 2020 4:29 AM CDT
In France, Italy. Spain, Virus Wiped Out Years of Growth
Tourists wearing face masks wait to cross a road in downtown Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, July 16, 2020.   (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

France, Italy, and Spain reported precipitous contractions Friday for their coronavirus-battered economies, with the pandemic wiping out years of growth in a matter of weeks as the lockdowns closed shops, factories, and restaurants. The Spanish economy shrank by 18.5% in the April-June period from the previous quarter, the French economy nearly 14%, and Italy 12.4%. The Spanish contraction was by far the sharpest slump since the country’s national statistics agency began collecting data, the AP reports. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez was meeting later Friday with the leaders of Spain’s regions to discuss how to rebuild the economy and where to deploy billions of euros in European Union aid for recovery.

Spain in mid-March went into a more than three-month lockdown, bringing much economic activity to a halt, as COVID-19 cases and deaths surged. The lockdown ended June 21. In France, the startling plunge of 13.8% in April-June from the previous three-month period also starkly illustrated the punishing economic cost of its two-month lockdown. "All the growth in GDP seen in the 2010-2019 decade has been wiped out in five months," says Marc Ostwald, chief economist at ADM Investor Services International. In Italy's case, economists said it wiped out about 30 years of growth. Germany reported a 10.1% plunge in GDP during the April-June period as its exports and business investment collapsed.

(More European Union stories.)

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