Independent Strategy

Tags: Covid-19

During lockdown people shopped online.  Not all needs could be met online.  So pent up saving grew to 4-8% of GDP most places.  Now it is expected some of the pent-up savings will be spent as Pandemic declines in rich countries.  It may be more in the EU than expected.  Because it is harder to shop online in the EU.  So pent up demand may be greater.

Post-Easter recovery has gathered pace with a substantial improvement in European mobility and economic activity over the past week (to 17th April).  The rebound was fairly even across Germany and Italy, with a more modest improvement in Spain, although that comes from a substantially better starting position.  France also saw a pick up in activity, but given higher Covid case loads this was modest in comparison.  And with the UK lockdowns easing France now carries the mantle of the weakest of our survey group, a position it looks set to retain for a while.

Attached are the vaccination figures for major areas. Global vaccinations rose 14.5% on the week. The EU is now at 25 (up from 21 last week) shots per 100 people — getting closer to the 30 level that may be the threshold at which vaccines may start to limit transmission. But still only 18% of the population has had at least one shot.  Still way behind the UK, US, Israel etc on both measures. But EU has faster vaccination rate, so the gap should close in about 6 weeks on shots per 100 pop basis.

Easter drag having an impact across most markets, leading to a drop in overall global economic activity over the past week (to 10th April).  This seasonal drag is mixed up with tighter restrictions in many European countries in reaction to the more recent increase in Covid cases and slower rollouts of vaccines.  But comparing the improving countries with the laggards still gives us some insights as to the severity of the drop here, with around half the decline in France Germany and Italy appearing to be a function of Easter, with the rest the virus.

Vaccinations rose 15% for the week to April 11. But.... What matters going forward for markets in the vaccination data is that the EU has reached a 20% vaccination rate (defined as % of population to receive at least one shot).  The rate at which there seems to be a market decline in infections is 30%. At current vaccination rates the EU will get there in 4 weeks and will approach the current UK and US rates in 8 weeks.

Despite the resurgence of Covid cases in certain places, the global economic recovery remains on track. That’s based on Google’s fast track data (through to March 27th).  Europe, which suffered last week, was on the up again with improvements in Germany, France and Spain.  The dip in Italy also looks to have based out, helped by a pick-up in the last couple of days.  The UK meanwhile continues on its improving streak.

The latest batch of Google mobility data, which take us up to 13th March, hints at a slight slowdown in the rate of improvement, amid some setbacks in some of the individual countries we survey.  But this looks like ebb and flow and doesn’t detract from the underlying trend, which remains one of improvement.

The improvements made in mobility and economic activity continues based of the latest batch of google mobility data.  The series take us up to 6th March and based on that the recovery remains on the front foot, underpinned by expanding vaccine coverage and the resulting boost to confidence that has delivered as well as the overall decline in infection rates, even if that trend looks to have flatlined more immediately.

Based on Google mobility statistics we’re seeing a sustained improvement in activity now.  This is only likely to gather speed as vaccine coverage continues to expand, restrictions ease, alongside the seasonal improvements one should expect upon the arrival of spring, and, with a bit of luck, some UV.

Google mobility data continues to paint an improving picture, with mobility and economic activity nudging higher again over the past week.  And the breadth of improvement is encouraging too. There was a solid increase across Europe in particular, driven by Germany but France, Italy, Spain and the UK also moved positively.  Developed Asia also fared well.  There was a modest dip in Australia amid some short-term localised lockdowns, but the damage from pre-Covid levels is far milder here anyway.

The past week hasn’t really seen any substantial shifts in activity, even if it’s increasingly clear that we’re past the worst as Covid cases continue to decline globally and the first signs of the vaccine impact start to percolate into the data. In the overall rankings, it is the Europeans that remain the most depressed compared to pre-pandemic levels of activity, with the UK languishing at the bottom of that league.  Germany and France took a step back based on the data, while there was a further mild improvement in Spain and Italy.

Global

POST » 10th February, 2021 » Early signs of recovery

With the continued decline in new reported Covid cases globally, it is no surprise that we’ve started to see an improvement in overall activity levels.  At least based on the Google data. Indeed, all but one of the countries in our sample recorded a week on week improvement.  The worst was France and that was simply stable.  Europe remains at the bottom of the pile in terms of overall activity, but the corner has certainly been turned and we’d expect to see this pick-up to extend and accelerate over the coming weeks.

Vaccination doses administered continue to rise by more than 30% a week. But still less than 10% of the population of rich countries have received a shot and less than 2% globally. The US and UK  lead with 13% and 19% with the EU at 4% of people having had at least one shot. People who have been completely inoculated are still low — less than 2% globally — 1% in the EU, 0.75% in the UK and 2.77% in the US.

Covid-19 vaccinations rising at a rate of around 40% per week.  Not much difference between EU 38%, UK 30%, US 36%.  Odd given vaccine wars!  The percentage of the population vaccinated at least one time now stands at 1.2% globally, EU 2.7%, US 8.4%, UK 13%.  While this is rising fast, this is still way short of herd immunity. And the percentage of the population fully vaccinated is still very low — less than 1% of the population everywhere except the US, Israel and a few small states (UK 0.7% and EU 0.4%).

Global

POST » 27th January, 2021 » Stuck in the doldrums

Economic activity seems to be bedding down in the doldrums amid lockdowns and other varying restrictions on activity.  Europe continues to suffer the most, although weak activity remains a broad phenomenon.

Vaccinations have continued to rise exponentially up 50% between Jan 17 and Jan 23 from 40.6mn to 61.1mn.  2% of Europe's population (UK 9.3%) and 5.8% of the US's have received one vaccine dose.  For Asia the figure is 0.5% and China 1.04%. The number of fully vaccinated people has risen globally from 2.7mn to 4.9mn.  In Europe the % of the population fully vaccinated is 0.11% (UK 0.69%) and in the US 0.84%.

The Google mobility indicators show a further decline in both mobility and economic activity over the past week.  The dip perhaps overstates the scale of the drop with US Thanksgiving holiday (which generated a bump in activity going into the holiday, and dip during and after) combining with tougher localised restrictions there.  The story in Europe was better.

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