Coronavirus crisis brings China’s economy to standstill in decades
China’s economy contracted for the first time in around three decades in the first quarter as the coronavirus crisis brought the country to a standstill, according to an AFP poll of economists.
The world’s second-largest economy tanked in the first three months of the year as factories closed, consumers were compelled to stay home and the virus spread to other countries.
Analysts from 14 institutions expect China’s economy to have shrunk 8.2 percent from a year ago in the first quarter, the first contraction since quarterly data started to be reported in the early 1990s.
They also forecast that full-year Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth will come in at 1.7 percent, a dramatic drop from the 6.1 percent expansion logged last year and well below the pre-coronavirus prediction.
If the forecast is accurate, it would represent the worst annual growth since 1976, the year Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong died.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday gave an even direr estimate of 1.2 percent growth in 2020.
While many businesses in china have resumed work, the coronavirus pandemic has brought other economies to their knees around the world with many key trading partners under lockdown.
The IMF said the pandemic will cut world output by three percent this year.
Economists differed on the impact of the coronavirus on China’s economy, with first-quarter contraction estimates ranging from 4.6 percent to 15 percent.