“Uneven recovery.” Economic reports have been repeating these two words for months when referring to the post-pandemic economic rebound. With the figures in hand, this fear is supported: 51 of the 192 countries included in the economic perspectives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will not be able to recover the pre-crisis level of GDP by the end of next year. And some of them, such as Venezuela – prey to economic paralysis long before the virus broke out to change everything – Myanmar – strained by the political crisis and the coup d’état last January – and two small jurisdictions in Asia (Macao ) and Oceania (Palau) will be a long way from pre-outbreak economic activity.
On the opposite side, Guyana, an economy that had already been on a very positive growth trajectory since before the pandemic thanks to an oil boom whose ceiling has yet to be seen, and Ireland, where despite the enormous weight of the The technological, pharmaceutical or financial sectors distort the real welfare data the exit from the crisis is prodigious, they are the countries that will have seen their GDP advance the most at the end of 2022. The Caribbean country will close next year having almost tripled the starting level and the celtic tiger it will have accumulated a growth of 24% while the rest of the eurozone suffered the hardships of the recession.
Among the largest nations, economic performance will be equally heterogeneous between 2020 and 2022. After two strong recovery exercises (this one and the next), three countries —Argentina, Ecuador and Thailand— will close next year without having been able to return. to prepandemic economic activity.
To that list, however, Spain must also be added if what is taken as a reference are the forecasts of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the European Commission, which have just postponed full recovery until 2023. All in all, with the latest IMF figures in hand – published in October, and those taken into account for the preparation of this information since they are the only ones that allow all countries in the world to be compared – Spain would barely recover GDP prepandemic in late 2022.
In contrast, four nations of the emerging bloc – China, Turkey, Egypt and India – will be the ones that will make the most progress between 2019 and 2022: 17%, 15%, 13% and 10%, respectively. The last case, that of India, is especially paradigmatic because it is one of the countries that suffered the most from the rigors of the health and economic crisis in a fateful 2020.
25 countries manage to reduce public debt in the pandemic
These are the exceptions to the general rule that seems set in stone in the health crisis so far: 25 countries will end 2022 with less debt than they had when the virus ruined any previous expectations. They are, for the most part, countries in Asia and Africa, eminently poor and whose borrowing capacity to revive the economy has been minimal. But there is also a curious name, such as Qatar, an economy sustained almost entirely by income from the sale of gas and oil, and which is being able to take advantage of the recent boom in fossil fuel prices.
On the other hand, the largest increases in debt will occur in small Asian and American countries that have been hit hard by the total drought of tourists since the beginning of the pandemic, which have had to resort to debt almost as a last resort. Among the large countries, the largest increases occur in the United States and Spain, which will be the ones that will add the most liabilities, some 25 percentage points of GDP, to their already high mountain of debt.
They will do so, however, for different reasons: the North American giant, for its ambitious stimulus plans that will allow it not only to recover the pre-crisis level of GDP, but also to improve the growth path it exhibited before the pandemic; Spain, because it will be one of the advanced economies that will take the longest to recover from the blow of the covid. And the debt over GDP should not be forgotten, it is a ratio in which how much the numerator increases is the same as how much its denominator falls.