Nowcasting COVID-19 (Part I)
The outbreak of coronavirus was a massive shock to an already fragile global economy – causing many markets to slip into recession earlier last month. Much about COVID-19 remains uncertain, however, alternative data can offer investors and policymakers greater clarity on its most damaging impacts. We outline the datasets that offer timely signals of the most affected areas of the global macroeconomy.
Early economic outlooks on COVID-19’s most detrimental impacts had expected it to remain within Chinese borders, requiring only modest downgrades to global growth forecasts. As the virus spread outside of China, it evolved from ugly duckling into a catastrophic black swan that global governments struggled to manage. At time of writing, optimism over a V-shaped recovery once lockdown measures end has been fading with every passing day, and hysteresis is becoming a greater economic reality. This is where alternative data can offer early insights into macroeconomic performance – ahead of official statistical releases.
When will global demand recover? How much unemployment will persist? What will happen in the most affected industries and regions? How can we predict the oil price in these current conditions? And how low will rates go? – These are some of the most critical questions that alt data sources can help answer
MONITORING ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN CHINA
Predictive PMI modeling
The weakening of both external demand and domestic consumption in China has already been putting pressure on the manufacturing sector. China’s PMI was exacerbated further after the outbreak of the virus – as demonstrated by February’s PMI figures, which fell more aggressively than during the GFC.