Virus-Driven Biotech Boom Rescues Lockdown Economy in Lithuania
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After triggering months of on-and-off lockdowns, the pandemic actually helped Lithuania’s economy record a strong rebound last quarter.
Driving the expansion is U.S. biotech company Thermo Fisher Scientific, whose local unit opened a new plant in December to meet surging global demand for reagents used in Covid-19 tests.
Exports and industrial output have both soared since. As most of the European Union contracted, gross domestic product -- which trailed only Ireland within the bloc in 2020 -- advanced 1% from a year earlier in the first quarter.
“The Lithuanian economy doesn’t stop surprising and disarms even the strongest pessimist,” said Nerijus Maciulis, chief economist at Swebdbank in Vilnius. “Despite the second wave of the pandemic and a long lockdown, the economy has already surpassed pre-crisis levels.”
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