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Lift in traffic volumes ‘a story of resilience’

Lift in traffic volumes ‘a story of resilience’

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Road freight movements have rebounded to their best levels in a year, suggesting the economy’s recovering from the worst of the lockdowns.

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ANZ Bank’s monthly Truckometer shows heavy traffic movements, a real-time measure of current activity, lifted 4.1 percent in September.

The volume of light traffic, which points six months ahead, rose by about 12 percent.

ANZ said in its report the data showed a “story of resilience”.

“We’re certainly seeing quite a lot of volatility in the traffic and that is of course related to the fact we went into lockdown again in August, albeit in a regionalised and in a less severe way then in March and April, but it was definitely enough to be seen in the traffic volumes,” ANZ chief economist Sharon Zollner said.

“What is interesting is that the traffic volumes, both heavy and light traffic, are up versus a year ago, so I think that’s more a sign of catch up activity than suggesting the economy is running hotter than it was a year ago.”

Zollner expected to see the “overshoot” dissipate over the coming months.

“We estimate the closed border knocks out about 5 percent of GDP, though the impact on traffic is even more difficult to estimate.”

She said the summer months will provide a real test for the economy, as wage subsidies start to wind down, the first wave of the mortgage deferral schemes comes to an end and the loss of international tourism at what is usually the peak season.

“But the ANZ Truckometer is consistent with the preliminary ANZ Business Outlook for October released yesterday, indicating that the economy for now at least has regained momentum, albeit in a slightly stop-start way due to Covid briefly re-emerging.”

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