Recent economic reports are supporting the notion that the global economic recovery might be faster than anticipated. Anthony Okolie speaks with Xin Chen, Vice President of Asset Allocation, TD Asset Management, about what the latest alternative indicators are saying about real-time economic activity.
Speaker 2 [00:00:33] Hi, thank you for having me. So I'm seeing something very interesting there. There is a large gap in the transportation usage. So on one hand, there is a surge in car usage since the pandemic, so people increased the usage of cars, they buy more cars, rent more cars, even use more Uber. And you can see actually the price you pay for Uber went up quite a bit. So right now is still 20 to 30 percent car usage above the pre-pandemic level. On the other hand, however, the utilization of public transit really dropped. Right now it's still sitting around 30 percent below the normal levels. Really highlighting people has relocated to more private ways to travel here.
Speaker 1 [00:01:22] OK, so let's talk about airline traffic. What is that data telling you?
Speaker 2 [00:01:27] Yeah, so the airline traffic is very interesting in a sense that is really showing people's comfort level to go back to tourism and really spend on lesure. So starting early March, we see a strong pick up in the number of global flights. So that really caught our attention. And we started to track the number of global flights. We noticed that it has being progressing really steadily towards the 2019 baseline level. So it's not back there yet completely. But its that progress was really strong and nice. And we actually see more recently this TSA recorded the highest number of passengers at the airport, and that was the highest number since the pandemic began. So very encouraging signs that people are actually getting out from their covid habits and going back to the pre-pandemic life.
Speaker 1 [00:02:28] And so you talk about more people getting out and do more traveling. I'm sure some of that traveling might include traveling to Europe. What are you seeing in Europe in terms of the data?
Speaker 2 [00:02:37] Yeah. So Europe had the mobility's quickly rebounded after their vaccination rolled out and accelerated. And also the new cases dropped there and the restrictions being lifted. So their mobility is really accelerated and almost match up with the levels in the US in such a short period of time. So that's pretty impressive. And we are actually seeing fast indicators to signal they labor market is also rebounding due to strong demand there. So we actually check the job postings by hiring companies. We saw strong growth in job postings across European countries, not just one or two, but also those tourism countries like Italy and Spain seeing also a strong job postings.
Speaker 1 [00:03:29] What about restaurants, specifically restaurant bookings? What are you seeing there?
Speaker 2 [00:03:32] Restaurants have been strong. That was the case in the summer last year already. But this year what was interesting is restaurants, dining actually got really strong starting even early spring. So it really surpassed the level of the summer, the best level of summer last year, really showing people cannot wait to go back to their favorite restaurant to sit in and really have nice dinner. So another like they have fun. It shows people are getting comfortable and to go out and spend.
Speaker 1 [00:04:09] So given all this information around alternative data, what are the implications from an investment standpoint?
Speaker 2 [00:04:15] Yeah, so we continue to be very optimistic about the rules, so U.S., we think that because of the support from the service sector, as people are getting more comfortable spending bill else, that is going to be a very healthy balance profile for the U.S.. So we are positive on the U.S. and we are seeing Europe being the next kind of catalyst for both. As we as I just mentioned, mobility and job are really rebounding there. So we've increased our European equities really play catch up there. And we think the synchronized global growth story could be under appreciated still by many investors right now. So that is not fully pricing, which really support equities going forward.
Speaker 1 [00:05:05] Xin, thank you very much for your time.
Speaker 2 [00:05:08] Thank you.