11 Aug 2020

Truckometer shows increased transport movements in July

2:34 pm on 11 August 2020

Road freight movements are well above levels seen last year for the first time since the country went into lockdown.

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File photo. Photo: ivantsov/123RF

The ANZ Bank's monthly Truckometer index uses transport movements as a guide to the economy.

The heavy traffic indicator, which is a real-time snap-shot of what is happening, rose 2.7 percent in July and is up by 10 percent on levels the same month a year ago.

Light traffic, which points to economic activity six months ahead, lifted by 5.6 percent.

ANZ's chief economist, Sharon Zollner said the freight movement was trying to catch up with the activity lost in lockdown.

"I think there's a couple things going on when it comes to trucks I think there's probably a bit of catch up, restocking, because not all activity was considered essential during level 4 lockdown but there'd be a lot of retail, for example, that would need stuff moved around and so we're still probably experiencing the catch-up.

"In terms in light traffic, the last three months is typically when New Zealanders would have holidayed overseas, so I think maybe we had more New Zealanders driving around the roads in the July school holidays then we normally would."

Zollner said - like business and consumer confidence - which were beginning to wobble as the rebound in activity out of lockdown began to lose steam, traffic movement might slow as well.

"I would expect that over the coming months as things settle down probably traffic data will settle at a level lower then it was before.

"Come October, the missing foreign tourists will be sorely missed and, generally with slower GDB growth, you would expect slower truck movements as well."