Chinese economy shrinks 6.8 percent in Q1

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The economic effect of the coronavirus pandemic in China is worse than expected: in the first quarter of the year, the country’s GDP shrank by 6.8 percent, which was its first year-on-year contraction in 28 years. In fact, the first since the data has been recorded.

Gross domestic product fell 6.8 percent in January-March year-on-year, official data showed on Friday, slightly larger than the 6.5% decline forecast by analysts and reversing a 6% expansion in the fourth quarter of last year.

The urban unemployment rate in March was 5.9 percent according to the government’s survey. This is slightly lower than the record high of 6.2 percent in February, data from the statistics bureau showed.

Employment is an important priority for the country which managed to keep it stable,but  but pressure on the labour market is rising as a result of canceled orders, Mao Shengyong, spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics, said Friday at a press conference.

China is facing tremendous pressure amid increasing uncertainties and instabilities from the coronavirus outbreak, Mao said, adding the country is also facing new difficulties and challenges in resuming work and production.

Global economic forecasts have also become increasingly pessimistic in recent weeks. The International Monetary Fund said the virus could cause the worst global recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s, while the unemployment rate in the US could reach 20 percent as soon as next month, according to a note from JPMorgan.

Title image: Container cargo port. (Illustration)

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