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Tracking the COVID-19 Crisis with High-Resolution Transaction Data

Published on Thursday, April 16, 2020

Document number 20/06

Tracking the COVID-19 Crisis with High-Resolution Transaction Data

We exploit high-frequency/high-resolution transaction data from BBVA to analyse the dynamics of expenditure in Spain during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We find little shift in expenditure prior to the national lockdown, but then immediate, very large, and sustained expenditure reductions thereafter.

Key points

  • Key points:
  • Our main dataset consists of the universe of BBVA-mediated sales transactions from both credit cards and point-of-sales terminals, and totals 1.4 billion individual transactions since 2019. This dataset provides a unique opportunity to study the impact of the ongoing crisis in Spain—and the policies put in place to control it—on a daily basis.
  • We find little shift in expenditure prior to the national lockdown, but then immediate, very large, and sustained expenditure reductions thereafter.
  • Transaction metadata also allows us to study variation in these reductions across geography, sectors, and mode of sale (e.g. online/ offline).
  • We conclude that transaction data captures many salient patterns in how an economy reacts to shocks in real time, which makes its potential value to policy makers and researchers high.

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