Assessing the COVID-19 impact and the speed of recovery with high frequency data
A timely assessment of the Covid-19 impact on the Greek economy is highly important for decision-making and policy design. Α significant range of indicators, which typically exhibit a high correlation with GDP and/or its components, is only available with a significant time lag, at a time when more timely indicators of the direction of activity are critical for the policy response.
The Q1:2020 GDP data showed that only a small subset of high frequency indicators were able to timely capture the rapid deterioration in economic conditions in March. The challenge is to pick the set of these high frequency data that are accurate predictors of activity. However, the choice needs continuous updating, to capture the seasonal structure of the economy (e.g. the tourism season).
Most high frequency indicators – including the recently-published data by ELSTAT on the turnover of enterprises – presage an unprecedented drop in activity in April and a subset of these indicators points to a pick-up in activity by mid-May.
NBG Economic Analysis Division uses two empirical methods that are appropriate for effectively summarizing the information included in a broad set of economic indicators and predict GDP growth one quarter ahead.
The results obtained by the first approach, which projects economic activity on a monthly basis, indicate a drop in monthly GDP of 21.0% y-o-y in April, which slows to -10.0% y-o-y in May and to -4.7% y-o-y in the first half of June, with still limited availability of indicators from the services sector for the latter month.
The second approach, producing estimates of annual growth in quarterly GDP, presages a contraction of about 15.0% y-o-y in Q2:2020, with the projected rate of decrease slowing as new data releases are incorporated in the estimates for this period.
NBG Economic Analysis forecasts of Greek GDP growth based on high frequency indicators are updated on a regular basis and will be available on the NBG website