Global Daily – Tracking the economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis

by: Bill Diviney

US Macro: Air passenger traffic now down by 50% – With events continuing to rapidly unfold, it will be some time before we get a full handle on the economic repercussions of this crisis (our much weaker growth forecasts give an indication here). This makes higher frequency (daily and weekly) data – of the kind we typically pay little attention to – uniquely important at this time. As we saw in China earlier this year, data on areas such as coal production, road traffic and air pollution indicated an economy running well below normal seasonal capacity while part of the country was in lockdown. For the US, we are now tracking air passenger throughput at airports, coal production, and railroad freight transport – among others. All show markedly lower rates of activity than in the same periods of previous years, with the most striking change visible so far coming in air travel; here, TSA data shows that as of 14 March, passenger numbers were already half that of the equivalent 2019 levels, having steadily declined from 100% of 2019 levels at the beginning of March (see figure 1). Coal production is around 80% of 2019 levels, and railroad freight is around 90% of 2019 levels (see figure 2). Over the coming days and weeks, we are likely to see further significant declines in these types of activities, as the effects of lockdowns and dramatically reduced consumption and production ripple through the economy. (Bill Diviney)