International cost comparison 2020



Global recession is a fact. What does this mean for the global construction sector, and can construction come to the rescue of the broader economy, asks Agnieszka Krzyzaniak of Arcadis

As we headed into 2020, it seemed 2019 had not been a good year – what with the US-China trade war, political uncertainty related to Brexit, unrest in East Asia and Latin America, and regularly downgraded economic forecasts for “sluggish” growth – but there were high hopes for stabilisation this year. The IMF kept managing expectations, by providing a balance of warnings about recession and hopes for slightly improved (from 2019) global GDP of 3.5% in 2020. This cautious optimism, however, was crushed with the onset of the covid-19 pandemic in March, which has shaken the global economy to the core. The certainty of any economic growth at all would sound attractive now.

The need to implement national lockdowns, first in China and then elsewhere, brought economic activity to a halt. Even when the virus was confined to just China, the vulnerability of international supply chains was quickly exposed. But then as it spread around the world, demand faded, pushing commodity prices off a cliff and sending financial markets into a panic. It all happened abruptly, as the covid-19 wave spread around the world in less than a month.

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