global economy

‘Pleasant surprise’: Lithuanian economy outperforms

Agence France-Presse, Agence France-Presse
‘Pleasant surprise’: Lithuanian economy outperforms

People sit outside a cafe in Vilnius, Lithuania, on May 5, 2020, amidst the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. - The Lithuanian government extended the nationwide coronavirus lockdown until May 11, but gave the green light for museums, libraries, outdoor cafes, hairdressers and beauty salons, and retail stores in shopping malls to reopen. (Photo by PETRAS MALUKAS / AFP)

Lithuania's gross domestic product shrinks 5.1% in the 2nd quarter of 2020, beating forecasts of a double-digit decline

Lithuania’s economy has emerged better than expected from the coronavirus outbreak, official data showed on Thursday, July 30, putting it on track to outperform most of its eurozone peers.

A seasonally adjusted estimate from the national statistics agency showed gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 5.1% in the 2nd quarter compared with the previous 3 months.

The figures beat forecasts and stood in sharp contrast with European Union heavyweight Germany where the economy shrank by 10.1% quarter-on-quarter from April to June.

“The number is a pleasant surprise,” central bank chief Vitas Vasiliauskas told reporters. 

The central bank and the finance minister had previously warned of a double-digit decline.

Zygimantas Mauricas, chief economist at Luminor bank in Vilnius, said success in containing the coronavirus outbreak and a relatively small dependence on tourism were among the factors that helped the Baltic nation.

“Lithuania will be among those who suffer least from the coronavirus in the EU. I do not rule out a positive full-year result,” he told Agence France-Presse.

Nerijus Maciulis, chief economist at Swedbank in Lithuania, said improving consumer and business sentiment indicate that a rapid recovery would continue.

He said a full-year contraction is still likely but that decline may be the smallest among all EU member states.  

By Thursday, Lithuania, a 2015 eurozone entrant of 2.8 million people, had reported 2,062 coronavirus cases and 80 deaths. –