Covid-19 Second Wave Hits Businesses In Regaining Normalcy

Nomura Business Resumption Index drops to 95.1 due to rising infections

Covid-19 Second Wave Hits Businesses In Regaining Normalcy
Covid-19 Second Wave Hits Businesses From Regaining Normalcy
PTI - 22 March 2021

The ‘second wave’ of the Covid-19 pandemic is delaying business normalisation in the country, as coronavirus infections rise in Maharashtra and other states, says a report by a Japanese brokerage house.

The Nomura India Business Resumption Index dipped to 95.1 for the week to March 21 from 95.4 in the previous week as a result of the rising infections, the brokerage says.

Covid-19 infections are rising to new heights across the country and many local governments have been forced to re-introduce stricter measures like night-time curfews and sealing off premises in order to contain the spread.

Fresh cases of infection reached 46,951 in the last 24 hours, making the sharpest single-day jump since November 7, and driving India’s tally to 1,16,46,081. The country suffered a loss of 1,59,97 lives in the last one year.

“The pandemic’s second wave is now spreading beyond Maharashtra and is starting to impact mobility. This suggests a likely sequential dip in contact-based services and a near-term delay of normalisation,” it says.

The brokerage expects the impact to be “more transitory and muted” as factory operations remain uninterrupted, consumers and businesses have adapted to the new normal and medium-term tailwinds like vaccinations, global growth, easy financial conditions continue.

It says that as of mid-March, Google workplace and retail and recreation mobility fell by 3.7 percentage points on a week-on-week basis and 0.3 percentage points, while the more updated Apple driving index fell by 2.6 percentage points.

Power demand improved by 2.6 per cent week-on-week after a 0.6 per cent decline the prior week, while the labour participation rate inched up to 40.6 per cent from 39.5 per cent. The knock-on effect of the second wave on mobility suggests a likely sequential dip in contact-based services and a near-term delay of normalisation, it says.

The medium-term tailwinds from the lagged impact of easy financial conditions, fiscal activism, strong global growth and continuing vaccine momentum will support real GDP growth of 13.5 per cent in FY22, up from a contraction of 7.4 per cent in FY21, it says.

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