Charting the Global Economy: Recovery Proving Gradual, Uneven

Retail sales in the U.S. now exceed their pre-pandemic levels and applications for jobless benefits are drifting lower. At the same time, the recoveries in the world’s largest economy and other countries are proving gradual and uneven.

Here are some of the charts that appeared on Bloomberg this week, offering insight into the latest developments in the global economy:

World

Therecovery has stalled in major advanced economies, with some countries hitting a ceiling on activity, below their pre-crisis levels, according to Bloomberg Economics gauges.

U.S.

Retail sales increased 1.2% in July and the total value of purchases is now higher than it was before the pandemic, indicating the recovery continues to improve in the face of lingering virus concerns.

The number of Americans applying forunemployment benefits fell below 1 million for the first time since virus, suggesting the economic recovery is gaining some traction amid a deceleration in coronavirus infections. Jobless claims are still well above the high reached during the previous recession.

The six-month review of the U.S.-China phase-one trade deal is set to take place against a backdrop of rising acrimony, and the fact that Beijing’s purchases under the agreement continue tofall substantially short.

Asia

China’s economicrecovery continued in July with industrial growth remaining steady, even as weak retail sales undercut the rebound.

Europe

The U.K. government’s tardy response to the coronavirus pandemic resulted in the economyunderperforming its European peers in the second quarter. Gross domestic product shrank a record 20.4%, more than double Germany’s 10.1% decline and exceeding the 18.5% recorded in Spain, the worst-hit country in the European Union.

Emerging Markets

Key South African data released this week suggests a record economiccontraction in the second quarter as the damage wrought by a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic becomes clear.

President Jair Bolsonaro wants the initiative called Renda Brasil, or Brazil Income, to replaceemergency aid provided by the government during the pandemic, including monthly stipends to informal workers that will expire by the end of the year. It may force the government to abandon a spending cap rule that investors consider as the country’s last line of defense against runaway budget gaps.

— With assistance by Maeva Cousin, Tom Orlik, Bjorn Van Roye, Andrew Atkinson, Sophie Caronello, Sharon Chen, David Goodman, Miao Han, Lucy Meakin, Prinesha Naidoo, and Lin Zhu

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