Will Europe reopen in time for Christmas?
It’s the question on the minds of many Europeans as the holiday season approaches, with experts at JPMorgan believing that Covid-19 restrictions will be eased before the festivities begin.
European countries are grappling with a second wave of coronavirus infections. As a result, Germany and France — the two largest euro economies are in national lockdowns and many other nations have also toughened up their measures to protect their health systems.
The stepping up of restrictions in recent weeks has delivered a fresh blow to the services industry, with concerns on how long the measures will last.
“Given the huge amount of economic and social activity that takes place in December, it is critical to know whether the current timetables will be kept to,” David Mackie, an economist at JPMorgan, said in a note on Thursday.
“Our judgement is that they will be,” he said.
Germany’s national lockdown is due to last until the end of November; in France, the current restrictions are due to last until Dec. 1; and in the U.K. the latest lockdown is set to end on Dec. 2.
“Lockdowns should be eased by early December, which will allow a strong bounce in economic and social activity ahead of the holiday season,” he said.
“Whether or not there is another European lockdown during the early months of next year remains to be seen, and much depends on developments in the vaccine candidates. But, for now, enough has been done to turn infections around,” Mackie added.
JPMorgan has studied the latest mobility data in Europe, comparing it with what happened during the first wave. The bank concluded that in Germany, Spain and the U.K., mobility numbers have dropped enough to keep the spread of the virus at a manageable rate.
Furthermore, JPMorgan also argued that in the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands and Slovakia — where restrictions were stepped up earlier in the current second wave — the number of new cases has come down in the past week.
“These experiences suggest that the restrictions put in place across Europe in recent weeks will be sufficient to reassert control over the virus, at least for now,” Mackie said.