The European Union’s economy suffered its worst drop on record in the second quarter.
Gross domestic product (GDP) decreased by 11.9 percent compared to the previous three months and 14.4 percent year-on-year, according to European statistical office Eurostat.
Thus, using a comparable calculation methodology, Europe experienced a deeper economic downturn than the United States in the second quarter.
The result is roughly in line with analysts’ estimates. The euro area economy contracted by 12.1 percent compared to the previous three months and by 15 percent year on year.
“These are by far the most significant declines we have seen since the beginning of these measurements in 1995,” Eurostat said. The second quarter was affected by lockdown measures against the spread of COVID-19 in most Member States.
Among the major EU countries, the German economy fell by 10.1 percent, the French economy by 13.8 percent, the Italian economy by 12.4 percent, and the Spanish economy by 18.5 percent.
“Not only is the Spanish economy in the eurozone one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, but it also seems to be recovering much less than its neighbors,” analysts said. The weak performance of the Spanish economy is also significantly affected by the tourist season.
The Czech GDP contracted by 8.4 percent in the second quarter compared to the previous three months. Latvia fared better with a drop in GDP of 7.5 percent compared with last quarter, and Lithuania’s economy contracted by 5.1 percent.
The US economy contracted at a 32.9 percent rate in the second quarter, which is also a record. But the Americans follow the development of GDP differently, using the conversion for the whole year. The EU calculates the change in GDP compared to the previous quarter and against the same period of the past year. Using the EU methodology, the US economy contracted 9.5 percent in the second quarter compared to the previous three months.
In the first quarter, the European Union’s economy contracted by 3.2 percent compared to the previous three months. The GDP of euro area countries fell by 3.6 percent. European countries began implementing measures against the spread of coronavirus in the spring, mostly in March. The first quarter was only marginally affected by the pandemic.
The first quick estimate is based on partial data, which will be refined further. Eurostat will publish its next report on GDP in the second quarter, which will be preliminary, on 14 August.