Alt data firm Truvalue Labs maps Covid-19 global economic sentiment

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Iceland, Austria, Egypt, Ghana, and Vietnam, have retained the most positive economic sentiment during the coronavirus pandemic, according to analysis of media, social media, trade union, and government data by technology company Truvalue Labs.

As part of its weekly updated Coronavirus ESG Monitor, Truvalue has produced an interactive world map that tracks sentiment toward a country’s economy, social impact, response, labour, and supply chain.

Sentiment was modestly positive in some of the Nordic countries including Iceland, Sweden, and Finland, which might be surprising considering the divergent approach taken by Sweden in tackling coronavirus, refraining from fully locking down the country. 

Iceland was listed among the top five countries for economic sentiment, with a score of 1.5, on a scale where 0.0 is neutral. Sweden and Finland both made it into positive territory with a score of 0.1 each. 

Worldwide, this was topped by Ghana and Vietnam, both scoring 2.7, as well as the most positive European country, Austria, on 2.1, and Egypt on 2.0. 

By contrast, larger economies in Europe such as Germany and the UK lagged behind with negative scores of -0.2 and -0.7 respectively. Over in North America, the USA scored -0.7, with Canada coming in ahead at -0.4.

On the opposite end of the spectrum were Brazil (-1.6), Greece (-1.5), Kazakhstan (-1.8), Mexico (-1.5), Nigeria (-1.5), and Norway (-1.0), which were among the countries with the most negative sentiment. 

Norway was conspicuously worse off than its neighbours, with a negative score of -1.0, reflecting country’s sizeable petroleum industry as worldwide oil prices continue to be rocked by volatility.

In addition, company responses to the pandemic had received the most positive attention in Developed Europe, Emerging Asia, and Japan, with Latin America falling behind with the worst coverage. 

Truvalue Labs works with artificial intelligence to produce informed, real-time ESG data analysis. The firm noted that Covid-19 had begun to represent more than 60 per cent of all ESG information captured by its engine on a daily basis.

In response, Truvalue created a Covid-19 signal, and five sub-signals to cover the following topics: social impact; labour; supply chain; response; and economy. The response signal captures companies shifting focus – for example, changing production to relevant products such as ventilators or vaccines. The economy signal detects information relevant to the broader, global economic situation and outlook.

Truvalue’s director of ESG Research, Andre Shepley, says: “Our AI engine allowed us to quickly create new signals, enabling us to understand this humanitarian crisis from an ESG perspective.

“We are assessing trends across sectors and industries, as well as corporate performance on the material issues that have emerged as a result of the crisis. Our data set holds companies accountable, focusing on what they do rather than what they say.”

In addition to countries, Truvalue tracks companies, and found that those receiving by far the most positive attention by volume and sentiment, lay within the healthcare sector. Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, and Gilead Sciences were among the highest ranked individual companies. 

However, six industries outside of healthcare also received positive sentiment from stakeholders: water utilities, chemicals, industrial machinery, auto parts, metals and mining, and electric utilities.

In terms of the most Covid-19 related attention overall, good or bad, Truvalue analysed the percentage of coronavirus-related coverage on the industry, compared with non-coronavirus attention.

It found that the Health Care, Food & Beverage, and Consumer Goods sectors have dominated the narrative since the onset of the pandemic. 

However, Truvalue noted a spike in May for attention on supply chain issues in the US meat industry, as well as higher mentions of the Managed Care and Car Rental & Leasing sectors.