November was busier than October in terms of business activity in India: Nomura

November proved to be a busier month than October in terms of business activity as India’s pace of business resumption touched another post-lockdown high, according to Nomura.

The Nomura India Business Resumption Index (NIBRI) came in at 89.2 for the week ended November 29, up from 88.7 recorded in the previous week, the brokerage said in a note on Tuesday.

“November was a busier month than October; the NIBRI picked up by 4.6pp (percentage points) m-o-m compared to a 2.1pp gain in October, reflecting ‘residual’ festive mobility and demand,” said the firm’s economists, Sonal Varma and Aurodeep Nandi.

The development came despite increased threats of pandemic resurgence and the revival of lockdown restrictions in various states, it said.

Experts were concerned that a second wave of infections post the festive season could further impact consumption demand amid the ebbing of the festive and pent-up demand phase.

While earlier improvements to the NIBRI were mobility-driven, the latest increase comes along with week-on-week declines in the Apple Driving Index and Google’s retail & recreation mobility index, which recorded its first fall in eight weeks.

On the other hand, Google’s workplace mobility posted positive growth during the week after declining through most of November.

Another indicator being tracked by the weekly index that broke a declining trend was the labour participation rate, which nched up to 41.1% from 39.3% the previous week, although it is still below pre-pandemic levels.

Similarly, power demand also recovered by 1.5% week-on-week after a 0.1% decline in the week earlier, the note said.

Nomura had raised its forecast of FY21 growth for India to -8.2% against -10.8% earlier “despite downside risks from a potential local resurgence in virus cases, ebbing pent-up demand, weaker global growth and a latent fiscal drag from ongoing expenditure compression,” the note said.

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