ASEAN MINDS | The Straits Times: China’s faltering economy needs help


The Straits Times says

China’s faltering economy needs help

 China’s reopening at the end of 2022 was widely expected to trigger a robust rebound in economic activity after a year of rolling lockdowns and movement restrictions under a rigorously enforced zero-Covid policy. But recent economic data has belied such expectations, indicating instead that China still faces severe challenges in getting its economy back on track.

The weakness is evident across multiple areas. Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first quarter of 2023 fell 34 per cent year on year to about one-third of the level in the same period of 2020. Factory activity has been falling since March, with the purchasing managers’ index indicating further declines ahead. Exports in May plunged by 7.5 per cent year on year, far exceeding the 0.4 per cent decline forecast by a consensus among economists, with double-digit declines to major markets, including the United States, Japan and South-east Asia. Economists now predict exports will contract in 2023 as a whole, neutralising a significant engine of growth.
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