China: there is no growth if the pandemic persists

Chine: pas de croissance si la pandémie persiste

BEIJING | recovery of growth in China will only be possible if the pandemic of novel coronavirus is halted at a global level, warned Beijing Wednesday, at a time when the country struggles to restart its activity.

The chinese economy has experienced a downturn for the first time in its history in the 1st quarter, with a decline of 6.8 % year on year, largely attributed to the epidemic of COVID-19 that has shut down most of the businesses in the country.

If China has since largely curbed the epidemic on its soil, and that a return to normal is carried out, companies are struggling, however, to fill their order book. And the chinese exporters are especially vulnerable, while the pandemic is crippling now the entire global economy.

“Businesses are still facing significant difficulties in terms of operation and production. It will take some time yet” to hope for a return to normalcy, a statement to the press, the minister of Industry and information Technology, Miao Wei.

Mr. Miao has not ruled out a recovery in the second quarter, but, he warned, this scenario will only be possible “if the pandemic is progressively controlled at the global level”.

And if the chinese exports, a mainstay of the economy of the asian giant, went against all odds to rise in the last month, this trend “is not sustainable” if the virus is not curbed in the world, said Mr. Miao.

In the opinion of analysts, the rebound in April is probably related to a phenomenon of “catch-up” after the difficulties encountered by exporters in the first quarter, when the containment measures disrupted the transport.

It may also be explained by the strong demand abroad for the products of medical image masks, of which China is the main supplier.

Questioned on the assumption that firms stop their production for lack of orders, Mr. Miao said that the domestic consumption would help “stimulate” growth.

China’s growth fell last year to 6.1 %, its worst performance in nearly 30 years, at a time when the trade war with Washington intensified. China could set a goal for this year, during the opening Friday of its parliamentary session, carried forward, in the midst of the epidemic.

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