China's economy shrank 6.8% in January-March, posts first decline on record as virus shuts down economy

The historic slump in the world’s second-largest economy comes after efforts to contain the coronavirus, which first emerged in China late last year, shut down factories, transport and shopping malls.

Reuters April 17, 2020 08:16:20 IST
China's economy shrank 6.8% in January-March, posts first decline on record as virus shuts down economy

Beijing: China’s economy shrank 6.8 percent in January-March from a year earlier, official data showed on Friday, the first such decline since at least 1992 when quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) records began.

The historic slump in the world’s second-largest economy comes after efforts to contain the coronavirus, which first emerged in China late last year, shut down factories, transport and shopping malls.

Similar shutdowns now in effect in major economies elsewhere have devastated global trade and suggest an immediate Chinese recovery is likely to be some way off.

The decline was larger than the 6.5 percent forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll and reverses a 6 percent expansion in the fourth quarter of 2019.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, GDP fell 9.8 percent in the first three months of the year, the National Bureau of Statistics said, which compared with expectations for a 9.9 percent contraction and 1.5 percent growth in the previous quarter.

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