World Outlook

Updated: May 13, 2021

Vaccines to the Rescue

World economic activity slowed sharply toward the end of last year in many regions due to a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic and the reimposition of lockdown restrictions. However, the rollout of vaccines in many countries and massive fiscal and monetary stimulus, especially in the U.S., should result in a gain in world GDP of this year and 2022. This year, the recovery will be uneven, as most countries in the Asia-Pacific region have done a better job of controlling the COVID-19 virus than have those in other parts of the world. And Latin America will lag other regions due to a lack of fiscal capacity in several of its countries.

Contents of the Spring 2021 edition include:

  • Countries recovering at their own speed
  • U.S. outlook: Surge in growth led by vaccines and ongoing government stimulus
  • Poor response to COVID-19 hurting Latin America’s recovery
  • Bureaucratic delays hurt outlook for the EU
  • Superior handling of COVID-19 boosts economic prospects in Asia-Pacific
Pumpjack; masked woman in front of airline arrivals sign; mask and sanitizer on a desk

Key findings

The Asia-Pacific region posted the lowest drop in economic activity in 2020 and will lead the global recovery. China’s sharp rebound in growth has boosted import demand and benefited the entire region.

Weak leadership and less than adequate health care systems have hurt the economic recovery in Latin America. However, the region will benefit from solid recoveries in the U.S. and Chinese economies.

Bureaucratic bungling and political infighting have delayed vaccinations in the EU at a time when variants of the virus are spreading. Consequently, the economic recovery in the EU will lag behind the U.S. and elsewhere.

The recovery in the global economy is being led by the rollout of vaccines and massive fiscal and monetary stimulus.

A “vaccine passport” could help revive the global tourism industry, but the idea of such a document is controversial. China is considering a vaccine passport for the Winter Olympics in 2022. 

The world economy will expand by 5.3 per cent this year and 4.0 per cent in 2022. Last year, the global economy contracted by 3.7 per cent—worse than the decline during the severe 2008–09 recession.


Previous release

Hope Amid Despair: World Outlook Economic Forecast

Impact paper  |  24-min read
March 8, 2021