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India’s COVID-19 cases peaked in September 2020 and the vaccination drive kicked off in 2021. That said, a series of lockdowns (both pre-emptive and extended) and “unlock” phases hurt the economy in 2020. Even though the country has not witnessed a second wave, new strains of the virus combined with poor testing pose a threat for economic growth recovery. While we are seeing traction in recovery, it is too early to say whether the fundamentals are improving.

In this chartbook, we assess a mix of macro and alternative data to help understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy through easy-to-read illustrations that cover different phases of the lockdowns and unlocks. It also offers a unique representation of high-frequency proxy indicators to gauge economic uncertainty and recovery.

Acuity Knowledge Partners’ Macro team will track developments in the Indian economy (covering the impact and recovery) in a series of fortnightly publications.

Key Takeaways:
  • The lockdowns (imposed to cut mobility to limit and delay the outbreak) have been relaxed and mobility is improving
  • Online activity thrived with over 1.3bn people under lockdown, but businesses are picking up pace
  • Activity changing gear in the new normal – recovering markets and trade, improving sentiment and a stabilising labour market. However, sustaining momentum remains a concern
  • Both the government and the Reserve Bank of India continue to undertake measures to revive the economy amid geopolitical tensions