LONDON | The United Kingdom has suffered a collapse of 20.4% of its gross domestic product (GDP) in April, the first full month of the containment put in place to address the pandemic, announced Friday, the Office for national statistics (ONS).
It is a record loss, which occurs after a plunge in GDP of 5.8% in march, says the ONS.
The containment began on 23 march and has put a screeching halt to economic activity in the country, which is the second-most grief-stricken in the world with more than 41,000 deaths reported to be positive in the coronavirus identified.
The restrictions are now lifted progressively and all the shops, except pubs and restaurants, will reopen their doors on Monday.
“The decline of the GDP in April is the strongest ever seen in the United Kingdom, more than three times stronger than the previous month and nearly ten times more than the decline most marked before the COVID-19”, points out Jonathan Athow, a statistician at the ONS.
In summary, “in April, the economy has been shrunk by about 25% compared to February,” he observes.
All of the major sectors of the economy have melted, the services, industry or construction.
Pubs, education, health, and car sales were among the most affected. The external trade has not been spared with a fall in exports and imports.
During the three months between February and April, GDP was down 10.4% compared to the previous three months and the Uk is preparing for a historic recession.
After a drop in activity of 2% in the first quarter, the economists expect an unprecedented collapse in the second quarter, which could be 35 % (always compared to the previous quarter), according to the OBR, the public institute that publishes the estimates for the account of the government.
This drop in activity is accompanied by a sharp increase in unemployment with a wave of job cuts that never ceases to grow and which affects many sectors, air in head.
The government has deployed an arsenal of measures to cushion the shock, with guaranteed loans and partial unemployment, but businesses are concerned about the coming months and the gradual lifting of these devices.
Economists expect them to a rebound in activity starting in the second half, but they wonder about its magnitude.
The minister of Finance Rishi Sunak and the governor of the Bank of England (BoE) Andrew Bailey have recently tempered the hopes of a rapid recovery, with months still difficult.