Coronavirus: inflation declines, a sign that China’s economy is not reviving

Prices only grew 4.3 per cent in March. Without foreign demand, Chinese products go unsold. Maritime container shipping dropped by 20 to 30 per cent. For analysts, China's GDP will decline by 6 per cent in the first quarter. The OPEC-Russia agreement won’t help Chinese manufacturing.


Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China’s consumer price index (CPI) rose only 4.3 per cent in March, substantially lower than the previous month (5.2 per cent).

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), this is a sign that the country’s economy is struggling to recover, despite renewed production after the government lifted a lockdown that was imposed to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

The producer price index (PPI) also dropped (1.5 per cent) compared to the same period last year.

The spread of COVID-19 to the rest of the world has drastically reduced demand for Chinese products.

According to Sea-Intelligence, worldwide demand for container shipping saw a 20 to 30 per cent drop in the first months of 2020. The decline in the Europe-Asia trade routes was even pronounced (29 to 34 per cent).

Without providing precise details, China’s Ministry of Commerce yesterday announced that the country's trade is slowly improving.

China exported 10.2 billion yuan (US$ 1.4 billion) worth of protective medical equipment between March 3 and April 4.

According to Bloomberg, exports are expected to drop 13.9 per cent in US dollar terms in March from a year earlier compared to the 17.2 per cent drop in the combined figures for January and February.

For the World Trade Organisation, world trade will decline between 13 and 32 per cent in 2020 because of the pandemic.

According to most analysts, China’s GDP will shrink by 6 per cent in the first quarter of the year.

It should pick up only in the third quarter, but annual economic growth is expected to fall below 3 per cent, the worst figure in decades.

Lower oil prices have partly helped Chinese manufacturers. But the agreement signed yesterday by OPEC and Russia to cut production by 10 million barrels per day could stop the decline in crude oil prices.