Global output, corporate profits to return to pre-pandemic levels by end-2021: UBS outlook

Global output and corporate earnings will go back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021 assuming wide-scale rollout of COVID vaccines in the first half of next year, said a yearly outlook unveiled by Swiss banking giant UBS on Tuesday.

The wide availability of COVID vaccines by the second quarter of 2021 should help put Europe and the United States on the path to a sustained recovery while Chinese economic activity has already largely normalized, the report said.

Beyond vaccine issues, a free trade agreement was just signed, and the economy in Asia is really coming back strong led by China, said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer of UBS Global Wealth Management on the occasion of issuing the report.

“So, that’s a growth engine. Then, the fiscal and monetary stimulus is going to continue into next year and that’s gonna be providing support as we enter into that recovery,” said Haefele.

Global corporate earnings are expected to become 5.2 percent higher in 2021 in comparison with the earnings in 2019, according to the report.

Corporate earnings in developed countries would roughly match 2019 levels and emerging market companies will earn around 15 percent more in 2021 than in 2019 powered by robust earnings growth in Asia, said the report.

Developed markets as a whole and emerging markets excluding China would contract 5 percent to 6 percent in 2020, the worst for the global economy in over 70 years, noted the report.

In particular, China will be the only large economy to see economic expansion in 2020, according to the report.