Here at CBRE Global Investors we are knee-deep in our semi-annual ‘global house views’ process, where we update all our real assets forecasts, risk-adjusted returns, model portfolios and preferred strategies. In the pre-covid days, the process started with a comprehensive set of national to sub-market macro-economic forecasts. But now, we have to start with a view on where we are in the pandemic waves in each of the markets we invest in, and perhaps even more importantly, where we are headed.
To do this, real assets researchers have had to add new strings to their bow. At the most basic level, we’ve had to find and understand datasets of covid record cases, infections and – sadly – mortality. Next, we’ve had to develop methods to estimate R – the all-important statistic that tells us where infection rates are rising, and where we should expect local lockdowns to take place. And finally, in a world where even month-old economic statistics look very out of date, we’ve had to dig into new real-time data sources that tell us how far people are moving around the economy again. From our perspective, the most useful of all these have been the World Health Organization covid stats; the Oxford Blavatnik School of Government’s lockdown stringency index; and mobility stats from Google. All of these are available globally and daily.