Exports plummet by over 17% in the first two months of 2020. 70% of Chinese companies have restarted production, but without foreign orders. Imports also drop. Domestic consumption stagnates. Upwards of 250 million jobs lost
Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Chinese exports registered a 6.6% drop in March, compared to the same month last year.
In the first two months of the year it registered 17.2%, when the country was facing the peak of coronavirus infection and manufacturing production had been stopped due to quarantine.
Now 70% of companies are back in business, but orders from abroad, especially from the United States and Europe, the hottest fronts of the pandemic crisis, have collapsed: a problem for an export-oriented economy like the China’s.
But the slump in foreign demand also affects Asian buyers. Imports into South Korea fell 13% in the first ten days of April. China is Seoul's biggest trading partner, with an average purchase rate of 97 billion euros in Chinese products.
Beijing has also seen a reduction in imports (-0.9%). Domestic consumption in the country is stagnating, and companies are not producing to their full potential. According to several observers, up to 250 million jobs have been lost in China in the first quarter of 2020 - the unemployment rate hit 6.2% in February.
It is estimated there could be more than 10 million unemployed in the exporting industries by the end of the year. In real terms, the figure could be even worse, given that the official statistics do not count most of the 300 million migrant workers employed in the industry.