CEMAC zone: recession could reach 6% according to BEAC

All the indicators are certainly not red. But most of the economic indicators in the six countries of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) are already found the Monetary Policy Committee (CPM) of the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) at the end of the second annual session on June 24, 2020 in Yaoundé.

Analyzing the situation in Central Africa, it emerges that in the short and medium terms, the CEMAC zone is affected by the health crisis and the fall in the prices of the main export products. "

"In the first half of 2020, the revival of productive activities was slowed down in the sub-region by the disruption of supply circuits for imported products as well as by the restrictive measures adopted by the various governments to contain the effects of the pandemic. Although it is premature for the moment to fully grasp the impact of COVID-19 on national economies, it is already anticipated during this first semester a drop in production as well as a det…

Hard blow, but rapid rebound for the Montreal economy

The shock inflicted on the Montreal economy by the coronavirus pandemic will be hard, but short-lived, estimates its metropolitan authority. It could even serve to reveal its shortcomings and offer the chance to tackle them once the crisis is over. A relatively diversified service economy, with a good manufacturing sector and many high value-added jobs, the greater Montreal region will see its total number of jobs fall by 4.8% over the next three months, the equivalent of '' just over 105,000 jobs, estimates an economic note released Wednesday by the Montreal Metropolitan Community (CMM), the organization that brings together its 82 municipalities from the administrative regions of Montreal, Laval, Lanaudière, Laurentides and Montérégie.

Hard blow, but rapid rebound for the Montreal economy

Accounting for almost 30% of jobs in Greater Montreal, services that require direct personal contact, such as retail trade, passenger transportation, real estate services and the arts and entertainment, will be severely hit by the fear of the pandemic and containment rules with losses of more than 13%. The manufacturing sector, including the aeronautics sector, is also expected to be hit hard (9.7%). Conversely, jobs in public and parapublic services are expected to increase (4.3%), with demand, in particular, for health care personnel.

Fortunately, this shock in the second quarter of the year should quickly be followed by a rebound in the following quarter (+ 4.7%), once the situation has returned to control, so that the year ends with a much more modest total job loss of 0.8%, or 18,000 jobs.

Based, among other things, on the most recent economic forecasts from experts, data reported by Montreal industrial associations, as well as on the case of the SARS epidemic in Hong Kong in 2003, this scenario could prove to be too optimistic, especially if the pandemic had to have a second wave or that the commercial partners of Montreal companies (United States, France, United Kingdom…) were taking longer to recover. In this case, job losses for the year could amount to 3.5%, or 77,000 jobs, and will only continue to fade much more slowly.

"We also don't know how people will react when the health situation begins to improve," Sylvain Giguère, CMM chief economist, said in a telephone interview. Will they rush into shops, restaurants and concert halls or, on the contrary, will they remain hesitant? "

The situation would be worse, however, had it not been for the massive emergency aid provided so far by governments.

The question is of importance for all of Quebec, underlines the CMM, Greater Montreal, and its 4.1 million inhabitants, accounting for half of its population and three-quarters of all its new jobs created since 2010, in one reason for one of the strongest economic growth in the country.
The current crisis could also have another effect, more positive this time, argues Sylvain Giguère, which is to act as a revealer of certain fundamental problems that have hampered the economic development of the metropolis for a long time. We bet, for example, that many Montreal companies are now falling far behind in terms of teleworking, online commerce and, more generally, the use of digital technologies and automation. All these young workers who interrupted their studies a little too quickly because jobs were plentiful, may now realize the advantage that would acquire them with the acquisition of additional skills, making it easier for them to retrain. '' access better working conditions.

While developing their next Metropolitan Economic Development Plan (PMDE), CMM members will seek the best long-term ways to catch up in terms of productivity, training and use of the workforce, innovation and adoption of new technologies. But in the shorter term, they will have to closely monitor several issues likely to hinder the end of the crisis, explains Sylvain Giguère. Among them, there will be contracts and foreign customers that Montreal companies will have lost in the adventure. There will also be their level of debt after all his weeks without income. There will also be the ability of businesses and utilities to resume operations in a safe and reassuring manner in a world from which COVID-19 may not leave for some time.