Dec 8, 2022 - Economy

Lockdowns weigh on Chinese trade

Photo: CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Fresh economic data from China on Wednesday showed just how much the nation’s "zero COVID" policies have hammered its crucial export industries.

Why it matters: China just moved to meaningfully loosen those restrictive COVID policies.

  • The greater-than-expected plunge in trade suggests that, in addition to responding to protests, Chinese officials, in part, eased their COVID stance to keep the economic downturn from spiraling out of control.

By the numbers: The new trade numbers for November showed a worse-than-expected downturn in both exports and imports.

  • Exports fell 8.7% year-over-year, compared with expectations of a 3.8% drop.
  • Imports plunged by 10.6%, versus the 7% decline analysts had expected.

Zoom out: Widely seen as inhumane, China's zero-COVID lockdowns repeatedly shuttered key Chinese industrial centers such as the southern industrial hubs of Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, as well as ports such as Tianjin and Dalian further north.

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