The Weekly WIFO 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 WIFO's website.
Economic activity based on the weekly GDP indicator (WWWI) declined by 0.6 percent compared to the previous year in July (calendar weeks 27 to 30, 3 to 30 July) and by 0.7 in the first half of August (calendar weeks 31 and 32, 31 July to 13 August).
The inflation-adjusted volume of non-cash transactions, as an indicator of household final consumption expenditure, shows a year-on-year decline in demand for goods (retail sales) and services in July and early August. In July, private consumption fell by 4½ percent year-on-year (first half of August –6¼ percent; June –2½ percent, revised)1.
The development of gross fixed capital formation is determined by economic activity (industrial production) and sentiment in the producing sector (according to the WIFO-Konjunkturtest, business cycle survey). For July and the first two weeks of August, a decline of 2¼ percent and 1¾ percent respectively is estimated compared to the previous year.
Compared to the same period of the previous year, truck mileage on Austria's motorways and rail freight volumes continued to decline in July. In contrast, the number of passenger and freight flights handled at Vienna Airport increased. Although exports were also significantly dampened due to the developments in the domestic producing sector described below, their dynamics remain more favourable compared to imports. This results in an estimated positive contribution of net exports in the broad sense to GDP of ½ percentage point in July and ¾ percentage point the first half of August (June +½ percentage point).
The weak development in freight transport is also reflected in the value added of the transport sector (NACE H). In July (–3½ percent) and in the first half of August (–2½ percent) it remained well below the previous year's level (June –4½ percent).
The number of persons looking for work in the producing sector (NACE A to E) remained at a low level in July but rose markedly compared to the previous year for the third month in a row. The WIFO-Konjunkturtest (business cycle survey) shows an increasingly pessimistic sentiment among manufacturing companies, both in their assessment of the current situation and their expectations for the coming months. For July, WIFO expects a further decline in value added in the producing sector of 1¾ percent year-on-year (early August –1¼ percent, June –1¾ percent).
Sentiment among construction companies has also deteriorated considerably according to the WIFO-Konjunkturtest (business cycle survey). Both the assessment of the current situation and the expectations are, on balance, close to the zero line that separates predominantly positive from negative reports. Value added in the construction sector (NACE F) is estimated to have fallen by ¾ percent year-on-year in July (first half of August –½ percent, June –1½ percent).
Based on non-cash transactions in hotels and restaurants, sentiment indicators from the WIFO-Konjunkturtest (business cycle survey) and online searches by German guests, value added in tourism (accommodation and food services, NACE I) is estimated to have been 1 percent lower in July and 1½ percent lower in early August than in the same period of the previous year (June –2½ percent).
In trade (NACE G), output remained 2 percent below the previous year's level in July and by 3 percent at the beginning of August (June –1½ percent). Based on the development in manufacturing, value added in the remaining market services (NACE J to N) was only ½ percent higher in July and the first half of August than in the same period of the previous year.
Value added in other personal services (NACE R to T) is expected to have increased by 1¾ percent in July and by 2½ percent in early August (June +3 percent), based on price-adjusted non-cash payments in the entertainment sector.
1 The inclusion of newly published monthly data, which have to be met when estimating the WWWI, led to a revision of the WWWI (June 2023 –½ percentage point). On the production side, the largest downward revisions in June occurred in the accommodation and food services (NACE I), while there were notable upward revisions in the remaining market services (NACE J to N).