With the recent surge in COVID-19 infections across much of the developed world, policymakers have started to re-introduce lockdown measures to control the spread. These efforts often restrict the movement of people in public spaces, reducing close contact to one another. France is currently under a national lockdown where people are only permitted to go to work, buy essential goods like groceries or seek medical help; restaurants and bars remain closed. The U.S. has not implemented a national lockdown but many state governments, including California, Oregon, Washington and Michigan, have shut down indoor dining among other measures. The implications of lockdowns on oil demand are clear: if sustained and widespread, fewer people will be driving and therefore consuming less gasoline and diesel.
Figure 1 shows daily COVID-19 infections rates along with residential mobility in OECD and non-OECD countries. Residential mobility is one of Google’s six mobility indicators but unlike the other five, which show changes in the number of visits to parks, transit stations, retail outlets, etc. relative to pre-pandemic levels, this indicator shows how time spent at home has changed. Since the start of October, COVID-19 infections increased by nearly 300,000 cases per day in OECD countries; governments responded by gradually introducing restrictions. With greater lockdowns, residential mobility has increased as people stay home. Figure 2 compares the U.S. to OECD European countries. The U.S. is in a third wave of COVID-19 infections and residential mobility is beginning to trend upwards as governors try to curb the spread of infections in their states by imposing lockdown measures. We will be monitoring Infection rates and containment measures worldwide in coming weeks.
FIGURE 1 | COVID-19 Infections and Mobility in OECD and Non-OECD Countries
FIGURE 2 | COVID-19 Infections and Mobility in OECD Europe and US
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