Weekly WIFO Economic Index

23.01.2024

WWWI: Calendar Week 49 2023 to Calendar Week 2 2024

Economic activity based on the weekly GDP indicator (WWWI) decreased by 1¾ percent in December 2023 (calendar weeks 49 to 52, 4 to 31 December) and by ¾ percent in the first half of January 2024 (calendar weeks 1 and 2, 1 to 14 January) compared to the previous year.

Information on the publication of the WWWI: The WWWI estimates are (currently) updated monthly and published on WIFO's website.

WWWI for GDP and its subcomponents

The inflation-adjusted volume of non-cash transactions, as an indicator of household consumption, shows a marked decline in demand for goods (retail sales) and a slight decline in services in December and the first half of January compared with a year earlier. Private consumption is estimated to have fallen by ¼ percent year-on-year in December and by ¾ percent in early January (November 2023 –1 percent, revised)1.

The development of gross fixed capital formation is determined by economic output (industrial production) and sentiment in the manufacturing sector (according to the WIFO-Konjunkturtest, business cycle survey). In December, the decline is estimated at 2¾ percent compared to the previous year (November 2023 –2½ percent).

The number of trucks on Austria's motorways and the volume of rail freight transport fell again in December and the first half of January compared to the same period last year. In contrast, the number of flights handled at Vienna Airport continued to rise. While total exports contracted only slightly due to the continued increase in exports of goods, total imports fell more sharply, as imports of both goods and services declined. The estimated growth contribution of net exports in the broad sense to GDP was therefore positive at +¾ percentage point in December and 1 percentage point in the first half of January (November 2023 +1¾ percentage points).

The weakness of freight transport is also reflected in the value added of the transport sector (NACE H). At –4¾ percent in December and –6¾ percent in the first half of January, it remained below the level of a year ago (November –5¼ percent).

Although the number of unemployed persons in the producing sector remained at a low level in November by long-term standards, it has been rising increasingly since April on a year-on-year basis. In early January, it was roughly at the same level as at the beginning of 2020. The WIFO-Konjunkturtest continues to show a predominantly pessimistic sentiment among manufacturing firms, both in their assessment of the current situation and in their expectations for the coming months. WIFO expects the value added in the goods-producing sector (NACE A to E) to have been 4 percent lower in December than in the previous year (November 2023 –3¾ percent).

According to the WIFO-Konjunkturtest, sentiment among construction companies also remains below average. The number of people registered as unemployed in the construction sector has been rising noticeably for three quarters. Value added in the construction sector (NACE F) is expected to have fallen by 1½ percent year-on-year in December (1st half of January 2024 –1¼ percent, November 2023 –3½ percent).

Based on cashless transactions in hotels and restaurants, sentiment indicators from the WIFO-Konjunkturtest (business survey) and online searches by foreign guests, value added in tourism (accommodation and food services, NACE I) is estimated to have been 1¼ percent lower in December and by 1¾ percent lower in early January than in the same period of the previous year (November 2023 –1¾ percent). In the distributive trades (NACE G), value added in December was still 3 percent below the level of a year before (1st half of January –3¼ percent, November –2½ percent).

In other market services (NACE J to N), based on the indicators for the current situation and expectations from the WIFO-Konjunkturtest (business survey), the current employment situation and developments in manufacturing, momentum remained subdued: year-on-year growth in value added fell by ½ percent in November and December and stagnated in the first half of January. In other personal services (NACE R to T), value added is estimated to have increased by 2¾ percent year-on-year in December and the first half of January, based on price-adjusted non-cash payments in the event sector (November +4½ percent).



1  The inclusion of newly published monthly data, which have to be met when estimating the WWWI, led to a revision of the WWWI (November 2023 –½ percentage point). On the production side, noteworthy downward revisions in November occurred in the goods producing sector (NACE A to E), in construction (NACE F) and in the remaining market services (NACE J to N), while an upward revision was made for trade (NACE G).



 


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 Weekly WIFO 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 monthly and published on the WIFO website.

Please contact

Mag. Dr. Josef Baumgartner

Research groups: Macroeconomics and Public Finance
© Alexander Müller
© Alexander Müller