Weekly WIFO Economic Index

13.04.2021

WWWI: Calendar Week 13 2021

In Holy Week (calendar week 13), economic activity was almost 23 percent above the level of the same week last year, according to preliminary calculations. However, at –4.1 percent, the gap between economic output and the pre-crisis level in 2019 remains considerable.

The regional lockdown in eastern Austria does not yet show any effect in the current evaluation for calendar week 13, but a dampening effect of around 200 to 300 million € per week is expected for the coming weeks.

Among the determinants of WWWI, at the current edge credit card sales overall as well as mobility are up year-on-year once again, but slightly down in some cases compared to the previous week. Slightly declining Google mobility data in public transport, workplaces and time away from home reflect the effects of recent regulatory restriction measures in eastern Austria. Due to the Easter holidays, passenger traffic at Vienna International Airport increased significantly compared to the same week last year as well as to the previous week. Expansive signals come from indicators of industrial production. Indicators in the transportation sector also present a fairly consistent picture, once again rising strongly compared with the same week last year. Unemployment fell on a weekly basis, and the number of job vacancies also increased further.

Following the opening of trade and private personal services in calendar week 6 (from 8 February 2021), the first three weeks showed a marked improvement in private consumption as well as value added in trade. In March, however, the further recovery was curbed. As no additional opening steps were taken due to the current worsening of the pandemic situation, there was no further domestic growth impetus. The net GDP contribution of travel remained negative compared to the average reference week in 2019 and improved only marginally due to the practical total absence of tourism due to the still-pending regulatory closures in the accommodation and food services sector. The weakening of the contribution of net goods exports referred to the average reference week in 2019 as of February 2021 is likely to be due to the opening of stores and the accompanying stronger imports of goods, especially consumer goods. Investment shows a slight improvement relative to the average reference week in 2019, in line with the trend in goods exports and goods production at the current edge.
  


Details on the WIFO Weekly Economic Index can be found here (xlsx).

The Weekly WIFO Economic Index (WWWI) is a measure of the real economic activity of the Austrian economy on a weekly basis. It is based on weekly, monthly and quarterly indicators. The index is scaled to the values of the rates of change in GDP against a corresponding reference period.

From 6 April 2021, the estimated percentage change in seasonally adjusted real aggregate economic activity in a calendar week is presented in two variants: firstly, as previously, in terms of the change from the same week a year earlier, and secondly, as a comparison to an average weekly value in 2019 (fixed reference period). This extended presentation is intended to support the contextualization of the results. Starting with calendar week 11 2021, 15 to 21 March 2021, for the year-on-year comparison, both comparative values lie in the pandemic-related crisis period.

Since the economic slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the strict regulatory restrictions to contain it during 2020 was most severe in the first lockdown period, starting 16 March 2020, and consequently the comparison level is very low, the year-on-year percentage increase is exceptionally strong after a year of negative year-on-year rates of change. The calculation against a fixed 2019 reference period allows a comparison of the current GDP level with the pre-crisis level.

Please contact

Josef Baumgartner

Research groups: Macroeconomics and European Economic Policy

Christian Glocker, MSc

Research groups: Macroeconomics and European Economic Policy
© Alexander Müller
© Alexander Müller