Business activity dips to pre-pandemic levels amid third Covid-19 wave, says report

The ongoing third wave of the coronvirus pandemic has dragged business activity almost back to the pre-pandemic levels, a weekly report tracking the changes said on Monday.

The Nomura India Business Resumption Index (NIBRI) — which compares the activity in a particular week with that of the pre-pandemic levels — fell further to 100.5 for the week ended January 23 from 102.2 in the previous week, the Japanese brokerage said.

The index fell because of a fall in the mobility levels as seen in the Google workplace and retail and recreation mobility, which fell by 10.7 percentage points (pp) and 4.4 pp, respectively, while the Apple driving index inched 1.7 pp higher after a massive 84 pp fall over the past two weeks.

The labour participation rate inched up to 39.8 per cent.

The rate of increase of new cases has moderated even as new infections breached the 3 lakh a day mark from being at the 2.5 lakh level in the week-ago period, it said, pointing out that Delhi and West Bengal have reported lower rates.

Air traffic is a third lower than the peak achieved in December before the onset of the third wave but railway passenger revenues have stabilised, it said, adding that activity should improve in February or March.