Taking the pulse: Daily dashboard

A Prospera dashboard allows the authorities to take the pulse of the economy on a daily basis.

In ordinary times, policymakers can wait weeks or even months to take the pulse of the economy through GDP results and the like.

At times of crisis, however, it is important they see how the economy is performing from one day to the next. This way they are as prepared as possible to respond to fast-moving events.

Prospera is sharing a daily dashboard of “high-frequency” indicators with the government as officials seek to save lives while maintaining the confidence of funding markets and managing the economic disruption from restrictions put in place to slow the spread of Covid-19.

“During these highly uncertain times it is important that the authorities keep the economy under constant surveillance and manage policy responses carefully,” said Prospera economist Adhi Saputro.

“This way they can maintain the focus on public-health interventions aimed at minimising the loss of life from the coronavirus.”

As is the case across the world, Covid-19 crisis delivered a severe shock to the Indonesian economy as people stay in their homes and shops shutter up. Millions of people are at risk of losing their livelihoods and falling into poverty.

Innovative insights
As well as rupiah exchange rates, share prices and bond spreads, Prospera’s daily dashboard gives insights into the performance of the real economy amid restrictions on ordinary life.

An innovative “luminosity index” uses satellite images from Nasa, the US space agency, to measure the night-light emitted by buildings across the archipelago.

According to this measure, Indonesia’s economic activity is presently running at only around 60% of the average for 2018. Activity is even lower in parts of Indonesia’s most economically important island of Java.

The dashboard also monitors pollution levels in six of Indonesia’s largest cities as well as traffic levels in Jakarta as tracked by satellite-navigation firm TomTom.

It takes the statistics office around two months to prepare and publish GDP results.

Prospera’s dashboard, by contrast, provides an immediate indication of the scale of the slowdown and how it is playing out across the country.

As pressures grow, policymakers want the most up-to-date evidence on which to base their decisions and to prepare for the challenges ahead.

As Mr Saputro said, “We hope this dashboard will support the authorities at this time of crisis.”