Economics in a picture
Business activity was less affected in the current lockdown but the differences across sectors remained
The third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a new lockdown in Portugal at the beginning of 2021. Compared to April 2020 (first lockdown), the results of the February edition of the Fast and Exceptional Enterprise Survey (Statistics Portugal and Banco de Portugal) show that the current lockdown has had a smaller impact on business activity.
In the first half of February 2021, business turnover of the respondent firms declined 18%, vis-à-vis a no-pandemic scenario. This reduction corresponds to about half of the change reported in April 2020. Sector differentiation persists, with service sectors more reliant on person-to-person contact showing more significant falls. The accommodation and food services sector stands out with a sharp fall, almost identical to that observed during the first lockdown. Firms also registered a negative impact on effectively working staff, recording a 10% drop vis-à-vis a scenario without a pandemic. This reduction represents about a third of the decline reported in April 2020.
The smaller impact of the current lockdown might be explained by the adaptability and learning capacity of economic agents and by a more favourable international environment, reflecting a lower synchronisation of the pandemic situation across European countries as well as the dynamism of the Asian and American economies.
Further details in Box 1 – “The impact of the current lockdown on the Portuguese economy”, March 2021 Economic Bulletin (Banco de Portugal), and Fast and Exceptional Enterprise Survey – COVID-19, February 2021 (in Portuguese only), available on Banco de Portugal’s and Statistics Portugal’s websites.
Prepared by Ana Sequeira. The analysis, opinions and results expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily coincide with those of Banco de Portugal or the Eurosystem.
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