Weekly WIFO Economic Index

23.01.2023

WWWI: Calendar Weeks 48 and 49 2022

Year-on-year economic growth based on the weekly GDP indicator (WWWI) is estimated at +4 percent for December 2022 (calendar weeks 48 to 52, 28 November 2022 to 1 January 2023; November +1¾ percent, revised).

Recent information on the publication of the WWWI: in the future, the Weekly WIFO Economic Index will be published mothly on WIFO's website.

WWWI for GDP and its subcomponents

In November and early December 2022, due to base effects from the gradual tightening of the fourth lockdown in restaurants, hotels, entertainment and events, and retail trade in the corresponding period of the previous year (calendar weeks 45 to 49 2021), growth rates show weekly increases for the respective calendar weeks in 2022. Year-on-year GDP growth accelerated from ½ percent (calendar week 45) to 6½ percent in the first two weeks of December (calendar weeks 48 and 49)1. In the second half of December (calendar weeks 50 to 52), the base effects are no longer present; the weekly year-on-year changes decreased from +3¾ percent to +1¼ percent. For the fourth quarter and the year 2022, this first estimate based on the WWWI yields year-on-year GDP growth of 2½ percent and 4¾ percent, respectively.

The inflation-adjusted volume of non-cash transactions, as an indicator of household consumption expenditure, shows a further significant and rising year-on-year increase for both the demand for goods (retail sales) and services due to the base effects in early December 2022. The weekly year-on-year rate in real private consumption expenditure reached +8¼ percent and +7 percent in calendar weeks 48 and 49 (first half of December). In the second half of December (calendar weeks 50 to 52), private consumption was only ½ percent above the year-earlier level on average due to the phasing-out of the base effects. On a monthly average, December thus yields estimated year-on-year growth of 3½ percent (November –2½ percent, October –6½ percent).

The development of gross fixed capital formation is determined by the sentiment in the manufacturing sector (according to the WIFO-Konjunkturtest). In December, the year-on-year growth is estimated at +¾ percent (November +2¼ percent, October +1¼ percent).

The export-weighted growth of the OECD trading partners stabilised in December. Truck mileage on Austria's highways and the volume of goods transported by rail declined compared to the same period of the previous year. In contrast, the number of passenger flights increased. Together with the dynamics in the domestic manufacturing sector and a – compared to imports – more favourable development of exports, this results in an estimated growth contribution of net exports in the broad sense to GDP of +3½ percentage points (November +1½ percentage points) for December.

The development in goods transport results in an estimated decline in value added of 2¼ percent (November –1¾ percent) for the transport sector (NACE H) in December compared to the previous year.

The number of unemployed persons in the producing sector (NACE A to E) remains at an exceptionally low level. The assessments of manufacturers in the WIFO-Konjunkturtest indicate a stabilisation of production. For December, WIFO expects a slight increase in value added in the producing sector of 1¼ percent compared to the previous year (November +3¼ percent, October + 4¼ percent). According to the WIFO-Konjunkturtest, the expectations in the construction sector continued to deteriorate. For December, value added in the construction industry (NACE F) is assumed to have declined by 1 percent compared to the previous year (November –¾ percent).

The volumes of inflation-adjusted non-cash transactions in the catering and hotel industry continued to show marked increases in December compared to the previous year. Here, the lockdown base effects are still acting in the first half of December. Value added in tourism (accommodation and food services, NACE I) is estimated to be 85 percent higher in the first half of December and 22¼ percent higher in the second half of December than in the same period of the previous year. Overall, it thus exceeds the previous year's level by 47¼ percent in December (November +10½ percent, October –7 percent). In the two weeks following Christmas and New Year (calendar weeks 52/2022 and 1/2023), which are typically the two highest turnover weeks of the winter tourism season, the inflation-adjusted non-cash transaction data of a payment system operator in the catering and hotel business show a year-on-year increase of 53 percent and 31 percent, respectively. This reflects the weak performance in 2021 in the aftermath of the lockdown prior to the start of the peak winter season. Based on this estimate, the number of overnight stays at the beginning of this year's winter season – especially those of foreign guests is expected to be significantly above the previous year's level, but in the week after Christmas it has not yet reached the level of 2019. The number of domestic guests is likely to have already reached the pre-crisis level.

In trade (NACE G), the year-on-year growth in value added was 15 percent in the first two weeks of December due to the lockdown base effects, while the second half of December shows a decline of 1¼ percent. On a monthly average, December recorded a 5¼ percent increase (October and November –3½ percent).

Low unemployment and GDP developments suggest a slight year-on-year rise of 2 percent for the value added of the remaining market services (NACE J to N) in December (November +2½ percent, October +2¾ percent). For other personal services (NACE R to T), value added is expected to have expanded by 12½ percent year-on-year (November +5½ percent), based on price-adjusted non-cash payments in the events sector. Noticeable lockdown base effects are also observed here in the first half of December (+15½ percent; second half of December +10½ percent).

 


1  The incorporation of newly published monthly data, which must be met when estimating the WWWI, led to a revision of the WWWI and its subcomponents. On the production side, the revisions affect in particular the producing sector (NACE A to E) and the remaining market services (NACE J to N; upward revision), as well as accommodation and food services (NACE I) and trade (NACE G; downward revision).

 

 

The WWWI is under constant development; it is regularly reviewed and will be expanded with new and additional weekly data series as they become available. The WWWI is not an official quarterly estimate, forecast or similar of WIFO.
 


Details on the WIFO Weekly Economic Index can be found here (xlsx).

The WIFO Weekly Economic Index (WWWI) is a measure of the real economic activity of the Austrian economy on a weekly and monthly frequency. It is based on weekly, monthly and quarterly time series to estimate weekly and monthly indicators for real GDP and 18 GDP sub-aggregates (use side 8, production side 10) of the Quarterly National Accounts.

With the release for June 2022, the econometric models for the historical decompositions and for nowcasting have been converted to seasonally unadjusted time series. In addition, year-on-year growth rates are now used to estimate the models.

The WWWI estimates are (currently) updated 14-days a week and published on WIFO's website.

Please contact

Priv.-Doz. Mag. Dr. Serguei Kaniovski

Research groups: Macroeconomics and European Economic Policy
© Alexander Müller
© Alexander Müller