Coronavirus News Asia

Grim UK, Germany economic data shows devastation

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The economic carnage unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic was brought into sharper focus on Thursday, with grim data showing major slumps in German and French industrial output and the British economy forecast to slump 14% this year.

Governments around the world are under immense pressure to ease the economic pain caused by measures to stop the virus, which has claimed at least 260,000 lives, left half of humanity under some form of lockdown and made millions jobless.

Some European and Asian nations are now cautiously easing restrictions hoping to stabilize their reeling economies, and US President Donald Trump is pushing for lockdown measures to be lifted.

But experts have warned that social distancing measures remain necessary until a vaccine is developed – and governments are keen to avoid a devastating second wave of infections.

The British government was on Thursday reviewing lockdown measures, with a partial easing expected to be announced this weekend.

The easing has already begun in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, while France is inching towards its own loosening of lockdowns.

Highlighting the economic imperative, the Bank of England said the GDP of Britain – which has the second-highest number of deaths in the world – was set to plummet 14% this year.

The forecast came a day after the European Union warned of a 7.7% eurozone contraction in 2020.

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