Economy

China’s economy is still months away from a full recovery, business survey finds

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Containers and trucks at the port of Qingdao, China on February 14, 2019.

Reuters

BEIJING — China has not fully recovered from the shock of the coronavirus pandemic, business leaders said in a survey by the China Beige Book released Tuesday.

After about a year since Covid-19 first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan, roughly two-thirds of executives polled by the third-party firm said they don’t expect sales, profitability and hiring to return to 2019 levels until at least three months from now.

China Beige Book conducted more than 3,300 interviews between Nov. 12 and Dec. 11 in its latest quarterly business activity survey.

Credit concerns and trade tensions

China still a bright spot but outlook tentative

In the services sector, the China Beige Book also found that fourth-quarter gains were not driven by consumers, but by industries meeting business needs such as telecoms, shipping and financial services.

Chain restaurants didn’t see as much growth, while travel saw no growth and hospitality recorded the weakest revenues, the report said.

The Beige Book also pointed out that compared with a surge in exports, China’s imports have stalled since an initial recovery from the shock of the first quarter.

The Chinese market remains a bright spot for companies worldwide after the country was able to control the outbreak domestically and return to overall growth by the second quarter.

But scattered Covid-19 cases, most recently in the capital city of Beijing in the last two weeks, as well as the virus’ persistent spread overseas mean the pandemic is an uncertainty for Chinese authorities and businesses.

China’s full-year economic data for 2020 is due out Jan. 18, according to the National Bureau of Statistics’ website.

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