Corona wave slows down China’s foreign trade

China's exports and imports contracted significantly in December. The reason is probably the massive wave of corona infections after the state and party leadership had lifted the strict zero-Covid policy.

China’s December exports fell 9.9 percent year-on-year due to falling global demand. Imports also fell, down 7.5 percent compared to December 2021, according to foreign trade figures released by China’s customs for December and for the whole of last year.

Effects of the corona infection wave

One reason for the decline is likely to be the massive wave of infections that has hit China. At the beginning of December, after almost three years of a strict zero-Covid policy, the state and party leadership surprisingly and largely unprepared abolished almost all measures.

It is estimated that hundreds of millions of people became infected within a very short time. The exact effects are not clear, there are no reliable figures. The communist leadership is trying to cover up the extent of the outbreak.

Passed 40 trillion yuan mark

Despite the slump in foreign trade at the end of the year, China continued to grow in imports and exports in 2022 as a whole, albeit less strongly than recently. Imports grew 1.1 percent and exports increased 7.0 percent year-on-year, mainly due to strong trade with Southeast Asian countries.

According to customs spokesman Lü Daliang, the value of imports and exports exceeded 40 trillion yuan for the first time in 2022 – that’s about 5.5 trillion euros. China has thus been able to maintain its status as the largest trading nation for six years in a row.

China’s trade with Russia is increasing

Particularly striking: China’s trade with Russia increased by a third in 2022 compared to the previous year. Accordingly – with 3.0 percent of the total trade in 2022 – a new high was reached.

While many democracies have imposed sanctions on Russia for the illegal war of aggression in Ukraine, the Chinese state and party leadership maintains a strategic partnership with the government in Moscow and does not condemn the war. Among other things, China receives cheap energy supplies from Russia.

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