10 / 09 / 2020

Cash circulation reprise in Italy after the lockdown

After analysing the cash circulation drop in the most critical months of COVID-19 pandemic in Italy, we now focus on the next period, trying to find out if the cash usage is coming back to 2019 levels or if a part of the loss is still remaining after the lockdown.

We therefore extend the table shown in the previous news with the data for the months of June, July and August, 2020, in which no further restrictive provisions were issued.

Month Branches ATMs Retail NCB Total
January 1,79% -18,24% 2,05% -5,85% -1,75%
February 9,18% -9,07% 11,92% -15,50% 2,45%
March -31,06% -48,49% -32,04% -31,82% -35,35%
April -48,99% -62,61% -53,51% -53,25% -52,66%
May -35,82% -45,75% -44,68% -38,47% -39,39%
June -15,48% -22,11% 14,36% -17,45% -16,25%
July -21,70% -31,77% -17,09% -23,90% -22,05%
August -15,90% -30,58% -13,33% -19,14% -17,46%

As expected, there was an important recovery in June, but also, unexpectedly, a subsequent decline in July, recovered almost completely in August, with less contracted cash circulation in the retail sector than in the ATM sector.

A partial explanation of the July reduction could be a certain overestimation of the June variation due to the fact that in 2019 there was an extra working day and a long weekend (the first since the reopening, from Saturday 30 May to Tuesday 2 June). In fact, the data are based on transport dates, which are much less numerous on Saturdays and Sundays.

It is interesting to note that, from a geographical point of view, cash circulation drop no longer overlapped with the spread of the infection, which has continued to hit the northern regions the hardest. From this point of view, of particular interest is the case of the north-easternmost regions, where a very significant decrease in the circulation of cash was registered, despite the fact that the incidence of the pandemic was not among the highest, as can be seen from the last figure, which maps the number of positives per 1000 inhabitants as of August 31st.





We can conclude that, a few months after the end of the lockdown:

  • cash has not returned to the levels of 2019, however in August the reduction was 17.46%, i.e. a loss recovery of two thirds compared with the lockdown phase. We can hypothesize that this reduction will persist as long as restrictive measures linked to COVID-19 remain in force
  • cash fell more independently from the local spread of the infection than during the acute phase of the pandemic



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