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China’s factories were hit harder this quarter as Covid drags on


China’s export of bicycles to the United States in the first two months 2022 was down 16%, compared with a year earlier, but grew 14.9% overall, customs data showed.

Song Wei | Visual China Group | Getty Images

BEIJING — Manufacturing, one of the main drivers of China’s growth since the pandemic began, saw slower growth in the first quarter, according to an independent survey by China Beige Book.

Another sign that China’s economy might not reap the benefits of overseas demand is how Covid control policy diverges. China quickly locked down its businesses early in 2020 to reopen them, while many other countries struggled with the virus.

In the past few months, however, more countries have adopted “Live with Covid” strategies. China’s policy of “zero Covid”, although some policymakers may have changed it, has maintained its policy. tried targeted measuresTo keep large factories or ports running.

China-during Covid has had a long history of heavy dependence on its production and exports. consumers largely stayed home,In a Tuesday report, U.S.-based China Beige Book stated that. “This quarter highlights potential limitations of this reliance.”

Over 4,300 companies in China were surveyed during the period from March 16 to 16. This report provides an overview of the first quarter and does not include any trend analysis.

The core problem for manufacturers right now is soft domestic demand and the threat of additional Covid outbreaks, which could further derail growth.

Shehzad H. Qazi

China Beige Book, managing director

According to the China Beige Book survey, retail companies saw a decline of double-digit percent in their revenue and profit growth year over year, as well slowdowns in hiring.

The report stated that although manufacturing is in better condition, revenue, profit and growth of new domestic orders are slower than they were during Q1-2021.

The National Bureau of Statistics of China published earlier this month surprising figures. upbeat data for January and FebruaryThis is a country that has seen a faster growth rate in fixed assets investment, retail sales, and industrial production than was expected.

China’s trade grew 16.3% between a year ago and the beginning of this year. It is still slower than the 29.9% growth expected for 2021.

Data for March 2018 and April 2019 are due to be released.

“The core problem for manufacturers right now is soft domestic demand and the threat of additional Covid outbreaks, which could further derail growth,” Shehzad H. Qazi, managing director at the China Beige Book, said in an email. Logistics companies report a rise in backlogs, although there’s no evidence yet of significant supply chain disruptions.

The survey revealed that the government has not provided major stimulus to the economy, and the rate of borrowing declined to its lowest level in 10 years, according to the China Beige Book.

Real estate bright spots

China: struggling property sector,According to the survey, the industry performed better than headlines may suggest, especially in China’s most populous cities like Beijing or Shanghai.

According to the report, “Accelerating profits” indicate that the sector is performing better than many observers believe. However, the report did not give specific figures. The housing market fared worse than construction. Sales growth and revenues slowed despite higher prices.

According to Moody’s, China’s real estate and related sectors account for around 25% of the country’s GDP. Evergrande, a developer, has defaulted over the past few months because falling sales have reduced the amount of cash that companies have to repay investors for large amounts of their debt.

CNBC Pro provides more details about China

According to economists, the greatest impact is Covid-related lockdowns — most recently in Shenzhen and Shanghai — depends on whether they last for two weeks or more than a month.

Many economists had predicted last year that there would be a decline in exports. This prediction did not come to pass.

Even a forecast of slower export growth in March by Nomura’s chief China economist Ting Lu is a double-digit figure — a 14.1% year-on-year increase. His expectation is that industrial production will increase by 4.5% this March, a slower pace than the 7.5% rate recorded for the first 2 months.

Lu forecasts 4.3% GDP growth for the entire year as per a Monday report. It’s less than the “around 5.5%” targetBeijing had earlier announced this month.