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Report says COVID-19 vaccines, U.S. rescue bill will boost global economic recovery

The updated outlook says global economic output should reach prepandemic levels by the middle of this year, but will depend on how well vaccines fight coronavirus variants.

U.S. President Joe Biden visits a Veterans Affairs COVID-19 vaccine center in Washington, D.C., on Monday. The president has said he expects to sign the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan immediately after it reaches his desk this week. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
U.S. President Joe Biden visits a Veterans Affairs COVID-19 vaccine center in Washington, D.C., on Monday. The president has said he expects to sign the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan immediately after it reaches his desk this week. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

March 9 (UPI) -- The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development revised its global economic outlook upward Tuesday, citing a surge of COVID-19 vaccinations and U.S. President Joe Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion rescue bill.

The interim report anticipates the worldwide gross domestic product will grow by 5.6% this year, a significant increase over the 4.2% growth forecast in December. The updated outlook for 2022 indicates 4% economic growth.

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The report notes that the global economy could reach prepandemic levels within a few months.

"World output is expected to reach prepandemic levels by mid-2021 but much will depend on the race between vaccines and emerging variants of the virus," the Paris-based organization said in a statement.

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The OECD said that although vaccine distribution has been uneven, the increase in production and administration of doses could get ahead of potential virus mutations. Such efforts could allow governments to relax pandemic mitigation efforts and boost consumer spending, providing for an even better economic outlook than currently projected.

If, however, such efforts fail to cut infection rates or curb the spread of COVID-19 variants, business confidence could lag.

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"Speed is of the essence," OECD Secretary-General Angel GurrĂ­a said. "There is no room for complacency.

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"Vaccines must be deployed faster and globally. This will require better international cooperation and coordination than we have seen up to now.

"It is only by doing so that we can focus our attention on building forward better and laying the foundations for a prosperous and lasting recovery for all."

India is expected to see the largest economic boost in 2021, the report states, with 12.6% growth -- followed by China (7.8%) and the United States (6.5%).

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Projected U.S. economic growth indicates a 3% revision compared to the December outlook due to Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan -- which the House is expected to pass this week. Biden has said he will immediately sign the bill immediately after it's sent to his desk.

The OECD said the large-scale relief package will increase upswings in both the U.S. and international economies.

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