Animation: Mapping the Recovery from the Global Recession of 2020
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Animation: Mapping the Recovery from the Global Recession of 2020

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Global Recession 2020: When Will the Economy Recover?

With 2020 nearly behind us, many are eagerly looking ahead to what 2021 will bring. COVID-19 vaccinations have begun, and hope is on the horizon for a stronger economy going forward.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) projects that after a 4.2% drop this year, the global economy will reach pre-pandemic levels in 2021. This animation, which uses data from the OECD, shows which countries will recover the fastest from the global recession in 2020.

Economic Forecast by Country

The projections assume that renewed virus outbreaks remain contained, and that a widely available vaccine near the end of 2021 helps to support confidence. Information used in the projections, such as monetary and fiscal policies, is as of November 27, 2020.

Here is how the economic forecasts break down for both OECD and non-OECD countries, sorted by projected real GDP growth in 2021:

Country2020P2021P2022P
🇨🇳 China1.788.044.95
🇮🇳 India-9.867.904.83
🇫🇷 France-9.116.033.27
🇪🇸 Spain-11.635.003.99
🇧🇪 Belgium-7.454.692.68
🇮🇹 Italy-9.054.293.17
🇨🇱 Chile-6.044.252.96
🇬🇧 United Kingdom-11.254.204.10
🇮🇩 Indonesia-2.433.965.05
🇦🇷 Argentina-12.923.714.55
Mexico-9.193.563.43
Canada-5.393.472.01
Colombia-8.323.473.73
Slovenia-7.513.443.54
Estonia-4.743.423.33
Bulgaria-4.123.313.71
Sweden-3.223.273.31
Australia-3.833.243.06
Norway-1.183.231.55
United States-3.703.193.46
South Africa-8.133.092.53
Iceland-7.683.003.20
Poland-3.512.923.82
Turkey-1.302.923.20
Russia-4.282.852.23
South Korea-1.092.843.36
Germany-5.532.803.31
New Zealand-4.812.732.63
Slovakia-6.292.684.34
Lithuania-1.952.673.14
Brazil-6.022.622.16
Hungary-5.662.553.40
Latvia-4.352.404.01
Japan-5.292.321.49
Israel-4.152.274.20
Switzerland-4.692.163.38
Romania-5.322.014.41
Costa Rica-5.581.993.84
Denmark-3.881.802.51
Portugal-8.431.721.87
Finland-3.971.541.83
Czech Republic-6.791.503.27
Luxembourg-4.451.473.76
Austria-8.031.382.31
Greece-10.10.906.58
Netherlands-4.550.822.95
Ireland-3.200.114.27

China started recovering earlier than most countries, and is projected to be the only country with positive GDP growth in 2020. Strong growth will continue in 2021, when China will account for over one-third of global economic growth.

Meanwhile, India experienced one of the world’s tightest lockdowns and will see a large GDP drop in 2020. The decline has exacerbated inequality, as school closures disrupt meal programmes and prompt dropouts by disadvantaged children. While the economy is forecast to grow from 2021-2022, it may take almost two years for GDP to fully recover.

Out of the countries measured in OECD’s forecast, Argentina will see the biggest GDP decline in 2021. Rising unemployment and inflationary pressures have contributed to the decline.

New Zealand’s GDP loss was similar to the OECD average, despite a larger drop in mobility, from the last quarter of 2019 to the second quarter of 2020. A recovery will partially depend on travel restrictions, as tourism accounted for 20% of the country’s total employment in 2019.

A Fragile Recovery

Considerable uncertainty about near-term GDP projections remain—$7 trillion of uncertainty, to be exact.

World GDP Projections

A downside scenario would be caused by delayed vaccinations or new outbreaks, and would lead to a $4 trillion GDP loss by 2022 compared to current projections. An upside scenario, spurred by fast vaccine rollout and boosted consumer and business confidence, could add $3 trillion to the global economy.

However, it is likely that the pandemic has caused permanent losses no matter the scenario.

As we wait for vaccines to be widely available, the OECD recommends that governments implement clear COVID-19 containment measures. While debt-to-GDP ratios have risen substantially due to stimulus packages, the organization also recommends that governments maintain strong fiscal support.

In particular, policies should be directed towards the most vulnerable, such as low-skilled workers, small businesses, and children. This may foster a more even recovery from the global recession of 2020.

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Charted: Tesla’s Unrivaled Profit Margins

This infographic compares Tesla’s impressive profit margins to various Western and Chinese competitors.

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Chart: Tesla’s Unrivaled Profit Margins

In January this year, Tesla made the surprising announcement that it would be cutting prices on its vehicles by as much as 20%.

While price cuts are not new in the automotive world, they are for Tesla. The company, which historically has been unable to keep up with demand, has seen its order backlog shrink from 476,000 units in July 2022, to 74,000 in December 2022.

This has been attributed to Tesla’s robust production growth, which saw 2022 production increase 41% over 2021 (from 930,422 to 1,313,851 units).

With the days of “endless” demand seemingly over, Tesla is going on the offensive by reducing its prices—a move that puts pressure on competitors, but has also angered existing owners.

Cranking up the Heat

Tesla’s price cuts are an attempt to protect its market share, but they’re not exactly the desperation move some media outlets have claimed them to be.

Recent data compiled by Reuters shows that Tesla’s margins are significantly higher than those of its rivals, both in terms of gross and net profit. Our graphic only illustrates the net figures, but gross profits are also included in the table below.

CompanyGross profit per carNet profit per car
🇺🇸 Tesla$15,653$9,574
🇺🇸 GM$3,818$2,150
🇨🇳 BYD$5,456$1,550
🇯🇵 Toyota$3,925$1,197
🇩🇪 VW$6,034$973
🇰🇷 Hyundai$5,362$927
🇺🇸 Ford$3,115-$762
🇨🇳 Xpeng$4,565-$11,735
🇨🇳 Nio$8,036-$19,141

Data from Q3 2022

Price cutting has its drawbacks, but one could argue that the benefits for Tesla are worth it based on this data—especially in a critical market like China.

Tesla has taken the nuclear option to bully the weaker, thin margin players off the table.
– Bill Russo, Automobility

In the case of Chinese EV startups Xpeng and Nio, net profits are non-existent, meaning it’s unlikely they’ll be able to match Tesla’s reductions in price. Both firms have reported year-on-year sales declines in January.

As for Tesla, Chinese media outlets have claimed that the firm received 30,000 orders within three days of its price cut announcement. Note that this hasn’t been officially confirmed by anyone within the company.

Tit for Tat

Ford made headlines recently for announcing its own price cuts on the Mustang Mach-E electric SUV. The model is a direct competitor to Tesla’s best-selling Model Y.

Chevrolet and Hyundai have also adjusted some of their EV prices in recent months, as listed in the following table.

ModelOld PriceNew PriceDiscount
Tesla Model Y Long Range$65,990$53,49018.9%
Chevrolet Bolt EUV 2023$33,500$27,20018.8%
Tesla Model Y Performance$69,990$56,99018.6%
Chevrolet Bolt 2023$31,600$26,50016.1%
Tesla Model 3 Performance$62,990$53,99014.3%
Hyundai Kona Electric 2022$37,390$34,0009.1%
Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Extended Range$69,900$64,0008.4%
Tesla Model 3 Long Range$46,990$43,9906.4%
Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD$57,675$53,9956.4%
Ford Mustang Mach-E RWD Standard Range$46,900$46,0001.9%

Source: Observer (Feb 2023)

Volkswagen is a noteworthy player missing from this table. The company has been gaining ground on Tesla, especially in the European market.

We have a clear pricing strategy and are focusing on reliability. We trust in the strength of our products and brands.
– Oliver Blume, CEO, VW Group

This decision could hamper Volkswagen’s goal of becoming a dominant player in EVs, especially if more automakers join Tesla in cutting prices. For now, Tesla still holds a strong grip on the US market.

tesla US market share

Thanks, Elon

Recent Tesla buyers became outraged when the company announced it would be slashing prices on its cars. In China, buyers even staged protests at Tesla stores and delivery centers.

Recent buyers not only missed out on a better price, but their cars have effectively depreciated by the amount of the cut. This is a bitter turn of events, given Musk’s 2019 claims that a Tesla would be an appreciating asset.

I think the most profound thing is that if you buy a Tesla today, I believe you are buying an appreciating asset – not a depreciating asset.
– Elon Musk, CEO, Tesla

These comments were made in reference to Tesla’s full self-driving (FSD) capabilities, which Elon claimed would enable owners to turn their cars into robotaxis.

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