COVID-19 & GDP: Marginal For the Last Two Years

By: The Quinnipiac University Economics Research Team, Nicholas Ciampanelli

This report presents a quick look at the performance of GDP in Central and Eastern Europe throughout Covid.. The above graph presents current market value quarterly data for GDP in the region. The first observation is that clearly Poland is the largest economy in terms of GDP. This is no surprise since it’s also the largest economy in terms of population with nearly 40 million, double the next largest Romania (approx. 20 million), followed by Czechia (approx. 10.6 million), Hungary (approx. 10 million), and Slovakia (approx. 5.5 million). Nevertheless, in terms of GDP Czechia ties with Romania for second, which speaks highly of the performance of the Czech economy overall.

The second observation is of the trend. Pre-Covid the region was experiencing positive growth in line with global growth, was hit hard by the pandemic and has been on the mend since summer 2020. The Polish economy seems to have had the quickest rebound with Czechia, Romania and Hungary showing similarly slower returns to pre-Covid levels.

Compared to the starting (base) year, the levels of GDP (all GDP is in thousands of Euros) and growth rates from base to end show the following performance since 2019: Romania’s quarterly GDP grew the fastest at 8% from 53,949 to 58,404, Poland’s was second with 4% GDP growth from 129,572 to 134,674, the Czech Republic’s quarterly GDP growing 2% from 55,248 to 56,411, and Slovakia’s quarterly GDP rose only 0.1% from 23,123 to 23,146. Hungarian GDP still has not returned to its original level with quarterly GDP falling from 36,443 to 35,988 Euros, a 1.2% decline.

The effect of the pandemic and the ranking mentioned above are more clearly evident in the graph of percentage change since base date 2019 Q1. As is well known, the pandemic was a hard economic hit to all counties, causing GDP to fall anywhere from 6.7% - 14.8% (rounded to the nearest tenth) from the base year across the region. Quarter to quarter changes are larger with a range of 7.5% - 15.2% decline in GDP across these countries. Despite the recession, GDP growth returned close to that of the base year in 2021-Q1 for most countries.