China Economic Data Tumble After COVID Lockdowns, Retail Sales Down 11.1%

China’s economic data plunged in April, worse than what analysts expected, after harsh measures to curb COVID-19 in its commercial hub Shanghai battered businesses.

Retail sales fell down 11.1% year-on-year in April, more than a 6% decline that economists forecasted, government data showed on Monday.

Industrial production was expected to increase slightly by 0.4%, but it instead dropped 2.9% in April from last year. Manufacturing plunged 4.6% mainly due to a slowdown in equipment production, according to Statistics Bureau Spokesperson Fu Linghui.

China last month imposed strict stay-at-home orders to curb COVID-19 cases in Shanghai, the country’s industrial powerhouse, forcing factories to either shut down or cut back on operations.

“As the impact by the increasingly grim and complex international environment and greater shock of COVID-19 pandemic at home obviously exceeded expectation, new downward pressure on the economy continued to grow,” the statistics bureau said in a statement.

The statistics bureau noted that with increasing investments, the economy is “expected to stabilize and recover.” Fixed-asset investments grew 6.8% in the first four months of 2022, slightly missing analysts’ expectations of 7% growth.

On Sunday, Shanghai announced that it would begin gradually reopening restaurants, and on Monday said it aims to fully lift restrictions by the middle of June.

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