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8 Charts: How the Coronavirus Has Shaken the Economy

Mar 07, 2020 | Lora Jones, David Brown, Daniele Palumbo |

8 Charts: How the Coronavirus Has Shaken the Economy

Written by Lora Jones, David Brown, Daniele Palumbo via BBC News

The coronavirus outbreak, which originated in China, has infected tens of thousands of people. Its spread has left businesses around the world counting costs.

Here are eight key maps and charts to help you understand the impact seen on different economies and industries so far.

Growth could stagnate

If the economy is growing, that generally means more wealth and more new jobs.

It’s measured by looking at the percentage change in gross domestic product, or the value of goods and services produced, typically over three months or a year.

The world’s economy could grow at its slowest rate since 2009 this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

A graph showing how the OECD has downgraded growth forecasts for various countries and reagions.

The think tank has forecast growth of just 2.4% in 2020, down from 2.9% in November.

It also said that a “longer lasting and more intensive” outbreak could halve growth to 1.5% in 2020 as factories suspend their activity and workers stay at home to try to contain the virus.

Global shares take a hit

Investors have been worried about the impact of the coronavirus as it spreads outside of China.

Big shifts in stock markets, where shares in companies are bought and sold, can affect investments in some types of pension or individual savings accounts (Isas).

The last week of February saw the worst performance for major stock markets since the 2008 financial crisis.

A graph showing the coronavirus's impact on stock markets in first quarter of 2020.

European and US stock markets have seen a slight uptick since then as it’s hoped that countries will intervene to protect economies from the coronavirus outbreak.

The US central bank, for example, slashed interest rates in response to mounting concerns. That should, in theory, make borrowing cheaper and encourage spending to boost the economy.

Factories slowing down

China makes up a third of manufacturing globally, and is the world’s largest exporter of goods.

But activity has decreased in the so-called “workshop of the world” as factories pause their operations to try to contain the spread of Covid-19.

A satellite image showing how pollution over China has cleared up due to manufacturing slowdown.

Nasa said pollution-monitoring satellites had detected a significant drop in nitrogen dioxide over the country. Evidence suggests that’s “at least partly” due to the economic slowdown caused by the outbreak.

Restrictions have affected the supply chains of big companies such as industrial equipment manufacturer JCB and carmaker Nissan. Both rely on China’s production and its 300 million migrant workers. Jaguar Land Rover even said it had flown car parts in suitcases as some factories run out of parts for vehicles.

See the remaining 5 charts at BBC News: Coronavirus: Eight charts on how it has shaken economies | BBC News