Business activity back to pre-2nd wave levels of March 2021: Report

Business activity has climbed back to the pre-second wave levels with the seventh consecutive week of surge in levels as new coronavirus infection cases decrease, a Japanese brokerage said on Monday. The Nomura India Business Resumption Index (NIBRI) accelerated to 95.7 for the week ending Sunday, from 91.0 the previous week, it said, adding that it only 4.3 percentage points (pp) below the pre-pandemic levels of March 2020 and back to pre-second wave levels from mid-March.

Mobility indicators like Google’s workplace and retail and recreation mobility indices surged by 5.1 pp and 7.4pp, respectively, from the previous week, the Apple driving index rose by 7.9pp. Power demand rose by 1.4 per cent week on week after a superlative 6.9 per cent rise the previous week, while the labour participation rate inched up to 40.6 per cent from 39.5 per cent, it said.

While data for June continue to largely confirm a sequential improvement on expected lines, early data for July are more mixed, the brokerage said, pointing to higher power demand amid a continued fall in railway freight revenues and lower GST E-way bills in the first week.

The pace of vaccination in July has so far struggled to pick up from the June average of 38 lakh doses per day, and the vaccinations are expected to rise at a faster pace from August, it said.

A key risk being monitored by the brokerage is whether the rapid rise in mobility increases the risk of a third wave.

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