The U.S. economy likely returned to its late-2019 size during the three months through June, helping to lift global output above its pre-pandemic level for the first time.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal estimate that figures to be released Thursday will show that the U.S. gross domestic product rose at an 8.5% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the second quarter. That likely left U.S. GDP—the value of all goods and services produced across the economy, adjusted for seasonality and inflation—above the $19.2 trillion level reached in the final quarter of 2019, the last before the spread of Covid-19 pushed large parts of the global economy to shut down and contract, they say.
The combined economic output of the Group of 20 leading economies exceeded its pre-pandemic level in the first quarter, according to estimates by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. With the U.S. and a number of other large economies crossing that threshold in the second quarter, it is likely that global output is now higher than the level recorded in the final quarter before the coronavirus struck, the group says.
Europe’s economy, however, likely remains smaller than before the pandemic, according to the European Commission, while the spread of the new Delta variant of the coronavirus across Asia threatens to slow its recovery in the second half of the year.
The International Monetary Fund Tuesday will release new forecasts for the global economy. Kristalina Georgieva, the fund’s managing director, on Wednesday told a webinar that while its projection for world economic growth in 2021 will stay at the 6% forecast in April, the outlook for rich countries with speedy vaccination programs has improved, while the outlook for poor countries has weakened.