Official statistics are usually reported on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis, and with substantial lag—anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Data may not always be available, particularly in developing countries. In a fast-moving environment like that brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak, we need more timely data to make sense of how the pandemic is affecting economies.
How can we use Big Data to track COVID-19’s impact on economic activity in Asia and the Pacific, without having to wait for official statistics to be released?
The COVID-19 pandemic has become a major global health crisis with far-reaching economic consequences. Many countries are closing borders, restricting travel, shutting down production, and closing shops and public places. In this difficult time, ADB is supporting its developing member countries (DMCs) through finance, knowledge, and partnerships.
In this challenge, we aim to provide timely measures of economic activity using alternative data sources and new approaches, so that policymakers and businesses can have a sense of real-time economic performance (also known as “nowcasting”, as opposed to forecasting) as the crisis unfolds rapidly. Several aspects of economic activity and performance will be tracked across four themes listed below.
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