Leaded by the pandemic, the trade of China is gray mine in may

Plombé par la pandémie, le commerce de la Chine fait grise mine en mai

Beijing | Exports decline and imports to the lowest since 4 years: China has unveiled Sunday figures gloomy for his or her business in may, at the time of the pandemic coronavirus paralyzes the global economy.

China, the first country affected by the disease Covid-19, has seen its exports in the red last month (-3,3 % on year), according to figures released by the Customs.

In April, exports had rebounded surprise (+3,5 %), after three months of decline.

This increase has largely been attributed to a catch-up phenomenon, following the difficulties faced by exporters in the first quarter. The containment measures associated with the epidemic had severely disrupted the transport.

The activity has since been widely embraced, but companies are struggling to fill their order books, at a time when their major clients, in Europe and in North America, are paralyzed in their turn by the virus.

“This will continue to weigh on exports in June and July,” says analyst Rajiv Biswas, the firm IHS Markit.

“But they should recover in the second half of” at the hour of déconfinement in Europe “and the Christmas period”, usually conducive to orders, reports AFP to Mr. Biswas.

Medical products, including China remains the main supplier, remain in high demand abroad.

The asian giant exported in the world 70.6 billion of masks between march and may, according to a figure announced Sunday in Beijing at a press conference devoted to the epidemic.

Analysts expect, however, that demand is fading as the health situation is improving in the world.

Uncertainty and slow recovery

For their part, imports from the asian giant have once again plunged in may (-16,7 % year on year after -14,2 % in April).

This is the worst performance since January 2016.

This fall in imports, for the fifth consecutive month, is more pronounced than the estimates of analysts surveyed by the financial agency Bloomberg (7.8 per cent).

“This reflects the slow pace of recovery” in China, said Mr. Biswas, so that the world’s second largest economy has virtually been shut down from the end of January because of the epidemic.

The companies have also undoubtedly reduced their imports in the face of uncertainties in demand, considers the economist Iris Pang, of ING bank.

To support an economy that is struggling and encourage consumption, several provinces or municipalities have launched commercial operations at a time coupons or discount.

The city of Beijing started Saturday distribution of coupons with a total value of 12.2 billion yuan (1.5 billion euros) to stimulate the purchasing power of its inhabitants.

Logical consequence of the fall in imports, the trade surplus of China has increased in may to 62.9 billion $ (compared to 45.3 billion the previous month).

Is unprecedented, the country has given up the last month to set a growth goal for this year.

“Our country will be confronted to some factors which are difficult to predict” because of the pandemic of novel coronavirus and the world economic situation had justified the chinese prime minister Li Keqiang at the opening of the annual session of Parliament.

Mr. Li has been announced to 2000 billion yuan (256 billion euros) of measures (increase in the budget deficit, government bonds) in order to support employment.

For the first time in its history, the chinese economy stalled in the first quarter (-6,8 %), under the effect of the virus.

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