China’s exports and imports fell in November to levels not seen since the start of 2020, official data released today Wednesday, amid health restrictions that have weighed on the economy.

In the face of the biggest wave of Covid-19 spread since the beginning of the epidemic – although the number of infections remains small compared to the population – the giant Asian country last month continued to follow its strict health policy.

This policy includes conducting near-daily checks on the population, quarantining those who become infected, and even closing when injuries appear.

These measures have naturally affected household consumption, supply chains and commercial demand.

As a result, exports fell 8.7% for the year, according to Chinese customs.

This percentage represents the largest decline recorded since the start of the epidemic in February 2020, when activities in China were suspended.

On the other hand, the threat of a recession in the US and Europe, along with high energy prices, weakened demand for Chinese products.

However, the medium-term outlook could be better as China appears to be on track to change its pandemic policy in recent days, with some restrictions gradually eased.

In November, imports fell 10.6% year on year, the biggest drop since May 2020.

Following mass demonstrations in late November protesting abuses of the zero-Covid policy, several cities announced an end to mandatory mass testing or isolation of the infected.

But inter-provincial travel remains challenging and it could take time for the economy to recover, while the easing of COVID regulations remains fragile at this time.

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