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The DEI: tracking economic activity daily during the lockdown

Publication Year 
JEL Code 
C22 - Time-Series Models
C38 - Classification Methods - Cluster Analysis - Principal Components - Factor Models
E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
The SARS-CoV-2 outbreak has spread worldwide causing unprecedented disruptions in the economies. These unparalleled changes in economic conditions made clear the urgent need to depart from traditional statistics to inform policy responses. Hence, the interest in tracking economic activity in a timely manner has led economic agents to rely on high-frequency data as traditional statistics are released with a lag and available at a lower frequency. Naturally, taking on board such a novel data involves addressing some of the complexities of highfrequency data (e.g. marked seasonal patterns or calendar effects). Herein, we propose a daily economic indicator (DEI), which can be used to assess the behavior of economic activity during the lockdown period in Portugal. The indicator points to a sudden and sharp drop of economic activity around mid-March 2020, when the highest level of alert due to the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 12. It declined further after the declaration of the State of Emergency in the entire Portuguese territory in March 18, reflecting the lockdown of several economic activities. The DEI also points to an unprecedented decline of economic activity in the first half of April, with some very mild signs of recovery at the end of the month.
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