China’s economy recorded its first contraction since at least 1992 in the first quarter of 2020 as the country has been forced to shut down factories, putting millions out of work due to the CCP Virus outbreak.

The world’s second-largest economy shrank by as much as 6.8% in the January-March period from a year earlier, reversing a 6% expansion in the fourth quarter of 2019, Reuters reported on Friday, April 17, citing data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China. 

This is the first contraction since the statistics bureau started to publish the country’s quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) records in 1992.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, China’s GDP fell 9.8% in the first three months, compared with 1.5% growth in the previous quarter.

The CCP Virus pandemic has put the whole society on lockdown. As a result, companies had to suspend activities, local consumption slumped, and demand from China’s major trading partners plunged as the virus outbreak spread on a global scale.

Data from the statistics bureau shows that the urban unemployment rate hit 5.9% in March, after climbing to a record high of 6.2% in February.

In the first quarter, China’s industrial production dropped 8.4% from a year earlier, fixed-asset investment slipped 16.1%, and retail sales fell 19%.

Per capita disposable income also fell 3.9% from a year earlier in the first quarter, data showed.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, statistics bureau spokesman Mao Shengyong said that China is facing tremendous pressure amid increasing uncertainties and instabilities from the CCP Virus outbreak, as well as facing new difficulties and challenges in resuming work and production.

However, the spokesman said that China’s economic performance is expected to be much better in the second quarter.

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