Independent Strategy

Tags: Google Mobility

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.

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.

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.

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.

Global

POST » 3rd February, 2021 » Steady, ahead of recovery

Another week of relative stability as measures to contain the pandemic remained static in most places.  More draconian restrictions in Europe leave the region at the bottom end of the spectrum while EMs and Asia rate far better.

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.

The noise of the holiday period might have overstated the extent of the decline in economic activity but there is no doubting that the backdrop remains very depressed.  Lockdowns and other restrictions remain the driver of this, with Europe bearing the brunt of the hit.  But high levels of Covid infection continues to dampen the economy even in places where efforts to tackle the virus are less draconian.

As we move into 2021, we are getting a clearer picture into the extent of the slowdown in economic activity that the resurgent Coronavirus has triggered.  Although the Google mobility indices were already indicating a sharp deterioration, the scale of the decline reported through to the turn of the year was exaggerated by holiday effects, as we noted last time.  Data through to the 8th of January, which was released yesterday, gives us a clearer picture of how things stand.  And while it is not quite as bleak as over the Christmas and New Year period, the data still paints a fairly poor picture of global economic health.

The re-acceleration of Covid infections has hit mobility hard over the past two weeks.  Although there are clearly seasonal factors at work (which the Google data series do not account for), we’ve clearly seen a pronounced deterioration in both mobility and economic activity above and beyond what could have been normally expected. This has been concentrated in Europe, with a particularly severe drop in Germany where our economic activity measure suggests things are even worse than at the peak of the crisis last April.  Italy and the UK have also registered steep falls, while Spain and France have seen more modest drops.

Global

POST » 17th December, 2020 » Steadier mobility indicators

Globally, the Google mobility and economic activity indices haven’t budged much over the past week.  That’s a good thing as they’ve sustained the pickup seen in late November, defying the rebound in Covid infection rates we’ve seen in several places.  This also takes us through the noise of US Thanksgiving.

Global

POST » 9th December, 2020 » The activity bounce

There has been a strong pick up in the DM mobility indices over the past week, the US rebounding over the Thanksgiving period while the easing of restrictions in Europe have boosted mobility and economic activity there – the most notable improvement being in France.  Trends elsewhere remain similar, with the exception of Korea which has seen a continued deterioration amid a “third wave” there and tighter restrictions, which continue to be added to.

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.

Global

POST » 25th November, 2020 » Weak Europe, US to follow?

The latest google mobility statistics suggest things have stabilised a little.  Although the devil is in the detail.  On the DM side, Europe looks fairly static from last week but this masks a further sharp drop in Italy, which offset something of a bounce in France and the generally steadier picture we’ve seen in Germany and Spain.

We’ve seen a further downturn in the European mobility, as national lockdowns continue to bite, with the UK, France and Italy all falling significantly over the past seven days.  Spain and Germany have been steadier, helped by the fact that they’ve been able to bend the Covid infection curve, with new cases rolling over and doing so from lower infection levels.  Looking at things globally the picture looks more balanced, European weakness offset by ongoing improvements across Asia and in the larger emerging markets.

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