When Will Your Country Recover from the Pandemic?
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When Will Your Country Recover from the Pandemic?

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What started as a novel virus in China quickly became a sweeping disease that shut down the world and put a 1.5 year halt on the global economy.

But while some countries’ economies are already back to normal, others are lagging far behind.

COVID-19 Recovery Timelines, by OECD Country

This chart using data from the OECD anticipates when countries will economically recover from the global pandemic, based on getting back to pre-pandemic levels of GDP per capita.

Note: The categorization of ‘advanced’ or ‘emerging’ economy was determined by OECD standards.

covid-19 recovery time by country

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The Leaders of the Pack

At the top, China and the U.S. are recovering at breakneck speed. In fact, recovering is the wrong word for China, as they reached pre-pandemic GDP per capita levels just after Q2’2020.

On the other end, some countries are looking at years—not months—when it comes to their recovery date. Saudi Arabia isn’t expected to recover until after Q1’2024, and Argentina is estimated to have an even slower recovery, occurring only after Q2’2026.

CountryRecoveryEconomy
🇧🇪 BelgiumAfter Q4 2022Advanced
🇸🇪 SwedenAfter Q4 2021Advanced
🇸🇰 SlovakiaAfter Q4 2021Advanced
🇳🇿 New ZealandAfter Q4 2021Advanced
🇩🇪 GermanyAfter Q4 2021Advanced
🇪🇪 EstoniaAfter Q4 2021Advanced
🇩🇰 DenmarkAfter Q4 2021Advanced
🇮🇸 IcelandAfter Q3 2023Advanced
🇸🇮 SloveniaAfter Q3 2022Advanced
🇵🇹 PortugalAfter Q3 2022Advanced
🇫🇷 FranceAfter Q3 2022Advanced
🇦🇹 AustriaAfter Q3 2022Advanced
🇵🇱 PolandAfter Q3 2021Advanced
🇳🇴 NorwayAfter Q3 2021Advanced
🇱🇺 LuxembourgAfter Q3 2021Advanced
🇱🇻 LatviaAfter Q3 2021Advanced
🇯🇵 JapanAfter Q3 2021Advanced
🇫🇮 FinlandAfter Q3 2021Advanced
🇪🇸 SpainAfter Q2 2023Advanced
🇬🇧 United KingdomAfter Q2 2022Advanced
🇳🇱 NetherlandsAfter Q2 2022Advanced
🇮🇹 ItalyAfter Q2 2022Advanced
🇬🇷 GreeceAfter Q2 2022Advanced
🇨🇿 Czech RepublicAfter Q2 2022Advanced
🇨🇦 CanadaAfter Q2 2022Advanced
🇺🇸 United StatesAfter Q2 2021Advanced
🇰🇷 South KoreaAfter Q2 2021Advanced
🇮🇪 IrelandAfter Q2 2021Advanced
🇨🇭 SwitzerlandAfter Q1 2022Advanced
🇮🇱 IsraelAfter Q1 2022Advanced
🇭🇺 HungaryAfter Q1 2022Advanced
🇦🇺 AustraliaAfter Q1 2022Advanced
🇱🇹 LithuaniaAfter Q1 2021Advanced
🇿🇦 South AfricaAfter Q4 2022Emerging
🇮🇩 IndonesiaAfter Q4 2021Emerging
🇮🇳 IndiaAfter Q4 2021Emerging
🇲🇽 MexicoAfter Q3 2023Emerging
🇨🇴 ColombiaAfter Q3 2022Emerging
🇧🇷 BrazilAfter Q3 2022Emerging
🇨🇱 ChileAfter Q3 2021Emerging
🇹🇷 TurkeyAfter Q3 2020Emerging
🇦🇷 ArgentinaAfter Q2 2026Emerging
🇨🇷 Costa RicaAfter Q2 2023Emerging
🇷🇺 RussiaAfter Q2 2021Emerging
🇨🇳 ChinaAfter Q2 2020Emerging
🇸🇦 Saudi ArabiaAfter Q1 2024Emerging

Most countries will hit pre-pandemic levels of GDP per capita by the end of 2022. The slowest recovering advanced economies—Iceland and Spain—aren’t expected to bounce back until 2023.

Four emerging economies are speeding ahead, and are predicted to get back on their feet by the end of this year or slightly later (if they haven’t already):

  • 🇷🇺 Russia: after Q2’2021
  • 🇨🇱 Chile: after Q3’2021
  • 🇮🇳 India: after Q4’2021
  • 🇮🇩 Indonesia: after Q4’2021

However, no recovery is guaranteed, and many countries will continue face setbacks as waves of COVID-19 variants hit—India, for example, was battling its biggest wave as recently as May 2021.

Trailing Behind

Why are some countries recovering faster than others? One factor seems to be vaccination rates.

CountryDoses Administered per 100 PeopleTotal Doses AdministeredPercent of Population Fully Vaccinated
World473,573,004,544
🇦🇪 U.A.E.16616,194,52669%
🇲🇹 Malta143718,41871%
🇧🇭 Bahrain1362,224,91663%
🇮🇸 Iceland129466,43470%
🇺🇾 Uruguay1294,458,39458%
🇨🇱 Chile12824,248,54560%
🇦🇼 Aruba125133,42159%
🇶🇦 Qatar1233,474,94456%
🇬🇧 United Kingdom12281,438,89253%
Mongolia1213,912,99656%
Israel12110,959,63358%
Canada11844,293,65948%
Singapore1136,440,73542%
Belgium11112,700,51346%
Curaçao108170,85751%
Denmark1086,266,89243%
Maldives106561,74846%
Netherlands10518,273,23843%
Spain10549,585,19749%
Hungary10410,155,46654%
Portugal10310,579,25944%
Luxembourg102633,97441%
Germany10284,989,85045%
China1021,426,347,000
United States101336,054,95348%
Ireland1014,995,71944%
Austria1008,866,47444%
Italy9959,966,90841%
Switzerland958,133,48642%
France9362,321,35540%
Sweden939,536,16436%
Finland904,951,92526%
Norway894,785,93731%
Greece899,560,59242%
Lithuania882,459,60542%
Czech Republic889,346,39738%
Poland8532,413,19942%
Dominican Rep.849,066,15134%
Estonia791,049,41634%
Serbia785,415,43438%
Slovenia781,626,07236%
Cyprus76916,81935%
Turkey7461,747,39923%
Slovakia734,003,63933%
Mauritius71901,53024%
Croatia712,870,86632%
Macau69434,72627%
Cuba697,767,60117%
Latvia661,264,43333%
Bhutan64487,0600.02%
Saudi Arabia6321,556,3149.2%
Hong Kong624,638,90826%
Barbados59168,95525%
Argentina5826,134,81511%
Brazil57120,726,75216%
Kuwait562,375,45522%
Morocco5620,584,81226%
Cambodia56924292524%
El Salvador533,422,21420%
Japan5366,714,52820%
Costa Rica522,606,79116%
French Polynesia51141,52324%
Montenegro49304,65523%
Fiji47419,9988%
Romania479,092,14124%
Guyana46363,44216%
Colombia4522,624,56819%
Jordan454,498,74818%
Azerbaijan424,242,72717%
Panama421,781,54215%
Mexico4152,704,96017%
Malaysia4113,107,68113%
South Korea4121,157,61212%
New Caledonia40115,21819%
Ecuador406,890,87610%
Kazakhstan397,303,18014%
Suriname38222,3778%
Australia389,631,80710%
Belize38147,08010%
Albania371,052,10816%
Russia3550,383,63814%
Oman351,728,6186%
North Macedonia34713,11413%
Samoa3262,1614.7%
Moldova31834,52713%
Grenada3135,07213%
Peru319,954,42912%
Saint Lucia3054,36113%
Sri Lanka296,431,1007.3%
India29391,340,4916%
New Zealand291,404,34311%
Brunei28121,2414.3%
Tonga2728,667
Bulgaria271,896,57412%
Bolivia273,117,5217%
Trinidad and Tobago27375,92411%
Bahamas2597,99210%
Lebanon251,693,1649%
Laos241,708,9819%
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines2325,509
Cape Verde23124,9583%
Timor-Leste22281,2833%
Indonesia2155,819,7816%
Equatorial Guinea21279,1129%
West Bank & Gaza20958,5199%
Thailand1913,533,7175%
Taiwan194,603,6391%
Tunisia192,206,9806%
São Tomé and Príncipe1837,7165%
Bosnia and Herzegovina14470,2185%
Venezuela144,000,0004%
Nepal133,730,3444%
Philippines1314,074,5144%
Botswana12284,6765%
Honduras121,172,8301%
Paraguay12826,6422%
Belarus
Zimbabwe111,575,5394%
Comoros1190,880
Uzbekistan113,541,4424%
Pakistan102,166,06502%
Jamaica9.8290,3824%
Armenia8.8260,8132%
Ukraine8.83,899,8903%
Iran7.96,530,1243%
Georgia7.8289,3993%
South Africa7.74,535,2223%
Guatemala6.91,146,4771%
Namibia6.7166,6161%
Myanmar6.5*3,500,000
Libya6.3425,119
Bangladesh6.210,108,2243%
Guinea6770,6882%
Algeria
Eswatini5.260,0692%
Rwanda5.1646,9092%
Senegal5.1823,6102%
Angola4.91,558,2012%
Egypt4.84,851,3491%
Vanuatu4.714,026
Vietnam4.34,185,6230.3%
Togo
Tajikistan4.3397,6940.2%
Ghana4.21,265,3061%
Mauritania4182,6420.3%
Solomon Islands3.825,6281%
Ivory Coast3.3861,278
Gabon3.372,3511%
Republic of the Congo3163,742
Kenya2.91,550,3891%
Sierra Leone2.9225,3800.2%
Iraq2.81,087,8661%
Djibouti2.826,796
Afghanistan2.71,024,1681%
Kyrgyzstan2.7173,7001.%
Lesotho2.756,3221%
Nicaragua
Uganda2.41,079,943
Malawi2.3428,4070.2%
Nigeria23,938,9451%
Liberia1.995,4230.2%
Ethiopia1.92,090,997
Gambia1.943,5571%
Niger1.8423,3350.3%
Mozambique1.7508,1841%
Central African Republic1.778,685
Somalia1.6249,7901%
Sudan1.6677,9570.3%
Zambia1.4243,8180.3%
Guinea-Bissau1.325,0120.1%
Yemen1297,405<0.1%
Mali1196,8620.3%
Syria0.8131,2210.1%
Madagascar0.7197,001
Turkmenistan
Cameroon0.6163,9210.1%
Papua New Guinea0.651,170<0.1%
South Sudan0.555,915<0.1%
Benin0.452,5630.1%
Burkina Faso0.233,960<0.1%
Chad0.224,459<0.1%
Congo0.173,764<0.1%

As of July 16th, 2021.

The higher the rate of vaccination, the harder it is for COVID-19 to spread. This gives countries a chance to loosen restrictions, let people get back to work and regular life, and fuel the economy. Additionally, the quicker vaccines are rolled out, the less time there is for variants to mutate.

Another factor is the overall strength of a country’s healthcare infrastructure. More advanced economies often have more ICU capacity, more efficient dissemination of public health information, and, simply, more hospital staff. These traits help better handle the pandemic, with reduced cases, less restrictions, and a speedy recovery.

Finally, the level of government support and fiscal stimulus injected into different economies has determined how swiftly they’ve recovered. Similar to the disparity in vaccine rollouts, there was a significant fiscal stimulus gap, especially during the heat of the pandemic.

Recovering to Normal?

Many experts and government leaders are now advocating for funneling more money into healthcare infrastructure and disease research preventatively. The increased funding now would help stop worldwide shut downs and needless loss of life in future.

Time will tell when we return to “normal” everywhere, however, normal will likely never be the same. Many impacts of the global pandemic will stay with us over the long term.

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Money

Here’s How Reserve Currencies Have Evolved Over 120 Years

Today, the U.S. dollar makes up 60% of held reserve currency. See how global preferences have shifted since 1900.

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global reserve currencies 120 years

Here’s How Reserve Currencies Have Evolved Over 120 Years

Over the last 120 years, the popularity of different reserve currencies have ebbed and flowed, reflecting the shifting fortunes of leading global economies.

For example, in the year 1900, the U.S. dollar and pound sterling made up 0% and 62% of global reserves respectively. But fast forward to 2020, and the pound now represents just 4.7% of global currency reserves, while the U.S. dollar stands at nearly 60%.

Today’s motion graphic from James Eagle looks at the year-over-year change in currency reserves as a portion of total reserves, spread across 120 years.

Currency1900192019401960198020002020
U.S. Dollar0.0%28.4%27.9%61.7%57.9%71.2%59.0%
Euro0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%17.5%18.5%21.2%
Deutsche mark14.7%4.2%0.0%0.0%12.9%0.0%0.0%
Japanese yen0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%3.9%5.8%6.0%
Pound sterling62.0%57.3%68.9%35.1%2.4%2.7%4.7%
Chinese renminbi0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%2.3%
French franc17.5%6.2%2.1%1.3%1.0%0.0%0.0%
Canadian dollar0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%2.1%
Australian dollar0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%1.8%
Swiss franc0.0%0.0%0.8%0.3%2.2%0.3%0.2%
Dutch guilder0.0%3.9%0.3%0.1%0.9%0.0%0.0%
Other5.7%0.0%0.0%1.6%1.3%1.5%2.7%

What is a Reserve Currency?

A reserve currency is a large quantity of currency held in “reserve” by monetary authorities like central banks.

Currencies are often held in reserve in preparation for investments and transactions, among other things. Our vast global trade system, which is approaching $20 trillion in value, means plenty of currencies are always needed in reserve. In fact, an estimated $5 trillion in currency swaps hands every single day.

Here are some reasons that currency reserves are held:

  • Exchange rate stability for the domestic currency
  • To ensures liquidity in times of crisis
  • To diversify central bank portfolios, which can reduce risk and improve credit ratings
    • All things equal, countries benefit economically from greater demand for their respective currencies.

      The Rise and Fall of Reserve Currencies

      Some economists argue that the demand for currencies in the long run revolves around the economic relevance of a country. In general, the larger and more powerful a nation’s economy is, the greater the network effect, and the more interlinked they are to the global economy. Thus, the greater demand there is to hold their currency in reserve.

      The last 120 years of currency reserve data shows some support for this claim. For example, Japan’s economy hit a peak in terms of its relative share of global GDP in the early 1990s, just before the effects of the Lost Decade were felt. Subsequently, their peak as a reserve currency was around the same horizon, at 9.4% in 1990.

      America’s Era of Dominance

      Due to the economic strength of the United States in the post-WWII era, the dollar is what economists call a vehicle currency.

      This means many non-dollar economies still choose to engage in international transactions using the dollar. These smaller and less accepted currencies are often converted to U.S. dollars before proceeding with any business or trade dealings. This is why, although Asian economies tend to have neighboring states as their top trade partners, they still engage in a massive portion of these transactions with the U.S. greenback as the currency of choice.

      Here are some facts that further exemplify the strength and power of the U.S. dollar:

      • More than 65 countries peg their currencies to the U.S. dollar
      • Five U.S. territories and a number of sovereign countries, such as Ecuador and Panama, use it as an official currency of exchange
      • Around 90% of all Forex trading involves the U.S. dollar
        • Additionally, the dollar is often seen as a haven in times of extreme uncertainty and tumult. Given its status as the world’s reserve currency, it can be perceived as less risky and can withstand economic shock to a greater degree relative to other currencies.

          New Challengers to the Dollar

          In the not too distant past, the U.S. displaced the UK economically and as the world’s reserve currency. Today, the U.S. economy is showing signs of slowing down, based on GDP growth.

          China is on the rise, having already displaced the U.S. as the EU’s top trade partner. With projections for China to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest economy before 2030 in nominal terms, could a new global reserve currency emerge?

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Demographics

The World Population Pyramid (1950-2100)

The world is in the midst of a notable demographic transition. Here’s how the world population pyramid will change as we close in on the year 2100.

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The world is in the midst of a notable period of demographic transition.

Back in the 1960s, global population growth peaked at a 2.1% annual rate, but since then it has been on a historic downtrend.

In fact, according to the most commonly cited United Nations projection, which is based on a medium fertility rate scenario, it’s expected that annual population growth could drop all the way to 0.1% by the end of the 21st century.

Visualizing a Demographic Transition

Today’s powerful charts come from Our World in Data by economist Max Roser, and they show how global demographics will shift over the next 80 years.

Below you can see one major catalyst of this change, which is the peaking (and then falling) population growth rate:

Growth in world population from 1950 to 2100

Why has population growth been dropping since the 1960s?

A variety of explanations factor into this, including:

  • Falling fertility rates:
    Birth rates tend to fall as nations get richer. First, this happened in the developed world, but as the century progresses this phenomenon will impact more and more developing nations.
  • Government policy:
    China’s “One Child Policy” in particular had an effect on global population growth, and the aftermath of the policy is still contributing to a shrinking Chinese population over the long term.
  • Rural flight
    Urban dwellers tend to have fewer babies—and by 2050, there will be an additional 2.5 billion people living in cities globally.

Fewer births combined with improving healthcare—especially in developing nations—will dramatically alter the composition of the world population pyramid, creating both economic opportunities and challenges in the process.

The Changing World Population Pyramid

The following graphic charts how these changes affect the makeup of the world’s population.

World Population Pyramid transition

Over time, the shape of the world population pyramid is expected to shift from Stage 1 (high birth rates, high death rates) to something closer to Stage 4 (low birth rates, low death rates).

As the population distribution skews older, here is how population size and global median age will change:

YearGlobal Population SizeMedian Age
19502.6 billion23.6 years
20187.6 billion30.0 years
2050p9.7 billion36.1 years
2075p10.7 billion39.0 years
2100p11.2 billion41.6 years

Global median age is projected to surpass 40 years by the end of the century, and it will be considerably higher in many Western nations, especially in Japan and Europe.

With the future demographic composition looking very different than today, it will be fascinating to see how the economy responds to these potential tailwinds. Further, it will be even more interesting to see what role automation will play as the old-age dependency ratio hits historic highs.

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