The chinese GDP down 6.8% in the first quarter

Le PIB chinois en repli de 6,8% au premier trimestre

Photo: STR / Agence France-Presse
Retail sales have experienced a new nosedive in march to 15.8% year on year.

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 virtually shut down the activity of the country, according to official statistics published Friday.

This decrease is less pronounced than the forecasts of a group of analysts surveyed by AFP (8.2 per cent).

It is, however, the worst performance since the beginning of the quarterly GDP in the early 90s. In the last quarter of 2019, the growth was recorded at 6% year on year.

In annual terms, China has not experienced a contraction in GDP since 1976.

Although controversial, the figure of China’s GDP is still under scrutiny, having regard to the weight of the country in the global economy.

In full propagation of the virus in the world, China “must face new difficulties and challenges, to restart the activity and production”, has admitted to the press a spokesman for the national Bureau of Statistics, Mao Shengyong.

Anxious to stem the spread of the virus, which has been officially more than 4 632 deaths in China, Beijing has adopted at the end of January of the containment measures without precedent, which have leaded to the activity.

Retail sales have experienced a new nosedive in march to 15.8% year on year, but industrial production has made a comeback, with a decline of only 1.1%.

During the previous two months (the only statistics available), retail sales were down 20.5% while industrial production had yielded a 13.5%.

In spite of an improvement of health conditions in recent weeks, hundreds of millions of Chinese continue to restrict their movements for fear of catching the virus.

Between April and June, China is expected to return to growth after being signed in the 1st quarter of its “downturn the most severe since the cultural Revolution” ended in 1976, considers the analyst Julian Evans-Pritchard, from the consultancy Capital Economics.

The asian giant will not be provided out of the woods. The difficulties are expected to intensify, according to Mr. Evans-Pritchard: rising unemployment, weak domestic demand and difficult economic climate abroad, which plomberont exports.

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