Policy Article

Germany's economy in times of the Corona Lockdown

Kiel Policy Briefs, Spezial Corona-Update, 29.04.2020 Download

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In times of a sudden crisis, such as the coronavirus, official statistics cannot cope with current economic developments because they are published with a delay of several weeks. However, a number of indicators give a hint of the economic effects of the measures taken so far to contain the virus.

During the "hard lockdown" (23 March to 19 April 2020), German city centres emptied almost completely, as data of pedestrian frequencies confirm. On average, inner city retail sales are likely to have dropped to around 83 percent below the normal level. Since the easing of measures on 20 April, retail sales were around 67 percent below the normal level.

Electricity consumption in Germany has decreased by up to 13 percent compared to the estimated normal level. Industrial production, which correlates with electricity consumption, could have fallen by around 20 percent. According to an analysis of shipping data from the Red Sea, Europe's trade in goods with Asia is currently about 20 percent below the normal level. These indicators suggest a decrease in economic output of around 20 percent during the "hard lockdown", which is in line with the projection of the current Kiel institute economic outlook.