OECD GDP growth slows to 0.3% in the first quarter of 2021
20 May 2021 - Following the unprecedented falls and subsequent rebounds in 2020, growth of real gross domestic product (GDP) in the OECD area slowed to 0.3% in the first quarter of 2021, down from 1.0% in the previous quarter, according to provisional estimates. This slowdown is partly related to the strengthening of COVID-19 containment measures in some countries in early 2021.
For the Major Seven economies as a whole, GDP growth slowed to 0.4% in the first quarter of 2021 (from 0.9% in the previous quarter), with quite divergent patterns across countries.
In Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan, GDP fell sharply, contracting by (minus) 1.7%, (minus) 1.5% and (minus) 1.3%, respectively, compared with growth of 0.5%, 1.3% and 2.8% in the previous quarter. In Italy, GDP continued to contract, but to a lesser extent (minus 0.4% compared with minus 1.8% in the previous quarter).
GDP growth remained positive in Canada and the United States (1.6% in the both countries), after 2.3% and 1.1%, respectively, in the previous quarter. GDP growth turned positive in France (0.4%) after a fall of (minus) 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2020.
In the euro area and the European Union, GDP continued to contract in the first quarter of 2021, by (minus) 0.6% and (minus) 0.4%, respectively, after (minus) 0.7% and (minus) 0.5% in the previous quarter.
When comparing economic activity in the first quarter of 2021 with pre-pandemic levels (Q4-2019), GDP still lagged behind for the OECD area as a whole (minus 2.6%). Among the Major Seven economies, the United Kingdom experienced the largest fall (minus 8.7%) and the United States the smallest (minus 0.9%).
Link to underlying data - Source: Quarterly National Accounts: Quarterly growth rates of real GDP
Note: As a consequence of measures put in place by governments to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), many statistical agencies are facing unprecedented collection, compilation and methodological challenges to develop indicators across a number of domains. To address these challenges, the statistical community is developing guidance, both conceptual and practical, to help ensure the continued delivery of timely and reliable statistics. However, in some cases, there will inevitably be an impact on quality and, as such, the statistics included in this press release may be subject to larger, and more frequent, than normal revisions.