March 4 Australia posted worse-than-expected
GDP numbers for the last quarter of 2008 on Wednesday, putting
the economy on the brink of recession.
Australia has so far managed to avoid falling into the
global slump that has hit its nine out of its 13 top trade
partners, with the risk of negative growth lessened by an
A$10.4 billion ($6.7 billion) economic stimulus package
unveiled on Oct. 14, and aggressive rate cuts from the central
(For related story see [ID:nSYD382924])
Here are some countries which analysts have tipped as
likely to fall into recession in 2009 as backward-looking
quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) figures confirm their
downturns. For a list of countries already in recession, see
WHY: The government expects growth to slow to 0.75 percent
in the 2009/10 fiscal year. Nine of Australia's top 13 trading
partners are in recession, including the top export market
While other developed economies tumbled, Australia had
escaped recession in part because of the economic boost its
from number one trade partner China, whose own growth is now
Q3 GDP reported in December showed minimal 0.1 percent
growth. Q4 GDP reported in March showed a -0.5 percent decline.
Most economists consider the country to be already in
recession, even if the technical definition is not met. After
years of averaging 4 percent growth, the government slashed its
financial year forecast to 0.75 percent growth, down from a May
2008 forecast of 3.0 percent growth.
WHEN: GDP figures for Q1, the next possible time for two
successive quarters of contraction, are due in early June.
LAST RECESSION: 1991-1992 FRANCE
WHY: Minimal third quarter growth saved the Eurozone's
second-largest economy from tipping into recession last year,
as France's GDP seesawed between positive and negative across
the four quarters -- from 0.4 to -0.3, 0.1, and finally -1.2 in
First quarter 2009 GDP is expected to shrink by 0.4
percent, state statistics agency INSEE said in December,
putting the country in recession after Q4's negative numbers.
The agency said GDP could still decline by 0.1 percent in
2009's second quarter, making a nine-month long contraction,
and that the year could see negative growth as a whole.
WHEN: Q1 GDP is due on May 15.
LAST RECESSION: Between Q4 1992 (-0.5 pct) and Q1 1993
(-0.7 pct). Q2 1993 showed 0.0 pct growth.
WHY: The last three months of 2008 saw poor economic
performance, particularly in exports and factory output. In
late February Q4 GDP was reported at -0.5 percent.
Most economists don't give estimates for quarterly GDP as
it is seen as very volatile, but a 0.2 percent contraction has
been forecast by the Bank of Israel for 2009, mainly due to an
expected plunge in exports, which make up 45 percent of gross
In early February the finance minister said Israel's
economy may already be in a recession.
WHEN: Q1 GDP is due on May 24.
LAST RECESSION: 2001-2003
WHY: South Korea's economy suffered its second-biggest
contraction on record in the final quarter of 2008, pushing it
towards its first recession since the Asian financial crisis.
Gross domestic product in Asia's fourth-largest economy
fell a seasonally adjusted 5.6 percent in the fourth quarter,
more than twice as much as economists had expected.
Asia's fourth-largest economy might already be in
recession, South Korea's top state-run agency the Korea
Development Institute (KDI) said on Feb 5, as the global
downturn sapped both domestic demand and its economic mainstay,
WHEN: Q1 GDP is due the 4th week of April. There are no
predictions for it yet.
LAST RECESSION: 1998
WHY: Fourth-quarter GDP crashed 6.1 percent, the country's
biggest-ever economic contraction. Q1 GDP is also expected to
shrink, confirming Southeast Asia's second-largest economy
behind Indonesia has plunged into technical recession.
The Q4 contraction, due largely to a collapse in exports
because of the global economic crisis, was exacerbated by
domestic political unrest that depressed private investment and
consumption, and scared away tourists.
Thailand's state planning agency expects zero growth at
best this year, and has said the economy could shrink by as
much as 1.0 percent.
WHEN: Q1 GDP figures due May 25
LAST RECESSION: 1998
(Compiled by Gillian Murdoch, reporting by Anna Willard and
James Mackenzie in Paris, James Grubel and Wayne Cole in
Canberra, Tova Cohen in Tel Aviv, Alan Raybould in Bangkok, and
Jonathan Thatcher in Seoul; Editing by Kim Coghill)