The impact of COVID-19 and non-pharmaceutical interventions on energy returns worldwide

Sustain Cities Soc. 2021 Jul:70:102943. doi: 10.1016/j.scs.2021.102943. Epub 2021 Apr 14.


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented global economic and social crisis, triggering various interventions by governments across geographic regions. The pandemic is significantly affecting all aspects of life, including the energy sector. In this paper, we investigate the bearing of COVID-19 and non-pharmaceutical interventions on the energy returns across 104 global energy indices in 34 countries over the period 1 January to 1 November 2020. Our analyses show that the daily growth in both confirmed cases and cases of death caused by COVID-19 has significant negative direct effects on global energy returns. We also find evidence that various non-pharmaceutical interventions have a significant impact on global energy returns. More specifically, we find that workplace closure and restrictions on internal movement have a positive and significant impact on global energy returns. In contrast, cancellation of public events, closing down public transport, and public information campaigns have a negative and significant impact on them. School closures and international travel controls are, however, negative but insignificant. For energy security, the cornerstone of every economy, our results support the argument for the urgent need for massive investment in the energy sector to boost economic activities, create sustainable jobs, and ensure the resilience of the economies hit by the pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19; Energy returns; Energy sectors; Non-pharmaceutical interventions.