Activity in many sectors has picked up and partially adapted to pandemic restrictions. Vaccine rollout, although uneven, is gaining momentum and government stimulus, particularly in the United States, is likely to provide a major boost to economic activity. But prospects for sustainable growth vary widely between countries and sectors. Faster and more effective vaccination deployment across the world is critical.
Prospects have improved over recent months with signs of a rebound in goods trade and industrial production becoming clear by the end of 2020. Global GDP growth is now projected to be 5.6% this year, an upward revision of more than 1 percentage point from the December OECD Economic Outlook. World output is expected to reach pre-pandemic levels by mid-2021 but much will depend on the race between vaccines and emerging variants of the virus.
The global vaccine rollout remains uneven, with restrictions remaining in some countries and sectors. The outlook for growth would improve (upside scenario) if the production and distribution of doses accelerates, is better co-ordinated around the world and gets ahead of virus mutations. This would allow containment measures to be relaxed more rapidly and global output to approach pre-pandemic projections for activity. But consumer spending and business confidence would be hit (downside scenario) if vaccination programmes are not fast enough to cut infection rates or if new variants become more widespread and require changes to current vaccines.