Though at current juncture it is very hard to predict the actual economic impact of the outbreak in China and other countries. As per current data available from Chinese authority, number of deaths and new cases reported daily has reduced substantially.
For a better understanding of economic activity status we have compiled road, port and air traffic data from various crucial cities in China. These datasets are very high frequency but we will release it on a fortnightly basis so that the volatility of data is not impacted.
We track road congestion levels of 21 cities in China that comprise of major manufacturing hubs of critical and value add products that are important for production units globally. We analyze the data on the basis that latest three days congestion compared to past four days and same day in 2019.
Five cities compared to seven cities last week, such as Dongguan that is manufacturing hub for high technology products and majority of mobile manufacturing and Wuhan that is epicenter of the virus outbreak but also manufacturing hub for automotive parts and fiber optics are still showing flat movement indicating no sign of improvement.
Changchun that is automotive manufacturing hub, Fuzhou that is textile manufacturing and Zhuhai is electronics manufacturing such as HUAWEI are showing signs of improvement but still well below 2019 levels. Chongqing and Shijiazhuang have shown improvement compared to previous week where the congestion was still low.
Twelve cities compared to five cities last week such as Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Shenyang that are automotive part manufacturing hub in addition to chemicals, steel and agricultural products have return to almost normal congestion levels of 2019 and some cities have gone above.
CONTAINER PORT TRAFFIC
We track port total arrivals and departures of Zhoushan (third largest container port world) and Shanghai’s Yangshan the biggest deep-water container port in China.
At Zhoushan since January 29th to March 3rd the total traffic per day has risen from 464 to 1462 showing a growth of 215% and growth of 6.64% growth compared to previous week.
At Yangshan since January 29th to March 3rd the total traffic per day has risen from 802 to 2672 showing a growth of 233% and growth of 11.06% growth compared to previous week.
We track total departures on daily basis from Top 25 airports in China, these number are approximates that might have some deviation factor.
Since January 28th to February 25th total departures have fallen from 8000 flights daily to 1900 daily a de-growth of 76% but week ending on 4th March Top 5 airports had total departures of 2052 that shows significant improvement on weekly basis. It has fallen from peak of 12000 in mid January 2020.
As compared to last week data there is significant improvement in road and seaport traffic that indicates majority of cities are returning back to work, which is resulting in increase in manufacturing and exports as even communicated by ministry. Airport traffic is also returning to better level as various companies have communicated to its employee abroad that it is safe to return to country and back to work.
Though the PMI levels and other indicators have indicated crash of various activities during January and February. We believe there will be a swift recovery in these indicators at most by May 2020. Though there have been large downgrades on global growth but as China comes closer to normal levels of operations it will lead to risk of upgrades with lower interest rates and higher liquidity that will be difficult for central banks to reverse without putting financial system at risk.