China’s factory activity suffers biggest decline in nearly 3 years after easing COVID-19 restrictions

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by: Belle Carter

Image: China’s factory activity suffers biggest decline in nearly 3 years after easing COVID-19 restrictions

(Natural News) With the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) sweeping across China’s production lines, factory activity in the country shrank for the third straight month in December. The drop has been the biggest since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020.

The factory purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 47.0 from 48.0 in November, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics. The 50-point mark separates contraction from growth on a monthly basis.

This came after China rolled back some of the world’s strictest COVID-19 restrictions in early December. According to the estimates of the U.K.-based health data firm Airfinity, cumulative coronavirus infections in China likely reached 18.6 million in December.

Weakening external demand on the back of growing global recession fears amid rising interest rates, inflation and the war in Ukraine may further slow China’s exports, hurting its massive manufacturing sector and hampering economic recovery, Reuters reported.

The news portal also reported that Tesla is planning to run a reduced production schedule at its Shanghai plant in January, extending the reduced output it began this month into next year.

“While [the factory PMI] was lower than expected, it is actually hard for analysts to provide a reasonable forecast given the virus uncertainties over the past month,” said Zhou Hao, chief economist at brokerage house Guotai Junan International.

Hao is still hopeful that factory operations will recover soon as the country’s banking and insurance regulator promised to step up financial support to small and private businesses in the catering and tourism sectors that were hit hard by the COVID-19 public health measures.

“The weeks before Chinese New Year are going to remain challenging for the service sector as people won’t want to go out and spend more than necessary for fear of catching an infection,” said Mark Williams, chief Asia economist at Capital Economics. “But the outlook should brighten around the time that people return from the Chinese New Year holiday – infections will have dropped back and a large share of people will have recently had COVID-19 and feel they have a degree of immunity.”

Xi calls for more effort and unity as China enters new phase in fight against pandemic

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for more effort and unity as the nation enters a new phase in its approach to combating the pandemic.

“Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the majority of cadres and the masses, especially medical personnel, grassroots workers braved hardships and courageously persevered,” Xi said.

“At present, epidemic prevention and control are entering a new phase, it is still a time of struggle, everyone is persevering and working hard, and the dawn is ahead. Let’s work harder, persistence means victory, and unity means victory.”

According to reports, Xi’s abrupt switch from the zero-COVID policy has led to skyrocketing number of new infections across the country. The change came following unprecedented protests over the policy championed by Xi, marking the strongest show of public defiance in his decade-old presidency and coinciding with grim growth figures for the country’s $17 trillion economy. (Related: Rare nationwide protests erupt across China to challenge CCP’s zero-COVID policy.)

Residents of Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, reflected on the zero-COVID policy and the impact of its reversal. Yahoo reported that people in the city expressed hopes that normal life would return in 2023 despite the recent surge in cases.

Visit Pandemic.news for more news related to COVID-19.

Watch the video below that says COVID in Beijing is far from over.

This video is from the Chinese taking down EVIL CCP channel on Brighteon.com.

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