As the coronavirus continued to wreak havoc on the world’ major economies, China’s imports and exports fell in March, with economic activity at a standstill and supply chains disrupted.
China’s exports fell by 6.6% in March 2020, compared to the same month of the previous year, according to data released recently by the country’s General Administration of Customs. This followed a 17.2% fall in January and February combined.
Meanwhile, imports were down 0.9% from a year earlier, having fallen 4% in January and February combined.
For the January to March 2020 quarter, China’s exports fell 13.3%, with imports down by 2.9%.
China’s Ministry of Commerce admitted that the prospects for the country’s exports remained guarded, given that economies around the world were being hit by the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. With China’s covid-19 inspired shutdown ending in February as the number of infections started falling, most Chinese exporters had resumed at least 70% of their production capacity by the end of March, but demand overseas collapsed due to the lockdown imposed in most of Europe and across the US due to the pandemic.
The producer price index, reflecting the prices that factories in the nation charge wholesalers for their products, dropped 1.5% year-on-year in March, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.
China’s cabinet launched a range of policies to support trade for the world’s second largest economy, including setting up 46 new integrated pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce, as well as going ahead with an online session of the famous Canton Fair in June, the country’s oldest and largest export trade fair.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) expects global trade to fall by up to 32% this year due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.