Coronavirus ends China's near 50-year stint of economic growth

Coronavirus ends China's near 50-year stint of economic growth
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The fallout from coronavirus pandemic has ended China's nearly 50-year streak of economic growth, according to The New York Times.

The Chinese economy shrank by 6.8 percent in the first three months of this year as the coronavirus ravaged the country in the early stages of the outbreak starting in December. The virus spread from the inland Hubei province in the city of Wuhan. 

China took aggressive measures to combat the virus, issuing massive lockdowns in January and February, before the outbreak reached serious levels in other countries. 

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The country is now tasked with restarting its $14 trillion economy as many of its trading partners, including the U.S., are still bearing the brunt of the pandemic. China’s confirmed number of cases has appeared to dip, according to numbers reported by the government, and the country has begun a level reopening. 

But despite its efforts to reopen the economy, the country has continued to close its borders to prevent a second wave of COVID-19, making it difficult to continue international business. The Times reported that the pandemic has decreased the demand for Chinese goods, which could lead to a shutdown of factories and furloughing of blue collar workers. 

Press coverage on China earlier in the pandemic noted that for the first time in years, skies appeared clear of pollution from factories. The newspaper reports that while the country has seen a reprieve from the virus, clear skies captured by satellite imagery suggest that industry is running at half capacity.  

“A lot of clients wanted to come to China from Africa but can’t, because the flights are canceled,” He Liehui, chief executive of Touchroad Group, a Shanghai trading and investment firm, told the Times. His firm buys minerals and timber from Africa and exports apparel and other manufactured goods to the continent. 

Unlike the U.S. and some European countries, China has avoided introducing a large spending package to aid businesses affected by the coronavirus.

The country’s economy is three times larger than it was in 2008, when it restarted the economy by spending half a trillion dollars on a stimulus plan.