Southeast Asian countries are struggling with a decline in exports due to lower demand from China and there are concerns that the decline will continue in the coming months, Japan-based media company NHK World reported.
According to a statement by Thai Ministry of Commerce, exports in December 2022 dropped by 14.6 per cent year-on-year to approximately 21.7 billion dollars. It was the third straight month of decline. Exports to China fell by 20.8 per cent.
Similar problems are being experienced by Singapore with non-oil exports contracting 20.6 per cent in December. Shipments to China were down by 31.8 per cent.
China is Southeast Asia's largest trading partner. The country's economy has, however, been hampered by a surge in COVID cases since the government abandoned its zero-COVID restrictions.
Analysts say regional exports may lose more steam in the months ahead as monetary tightening by western countries contributes to a global economic slowdown, NHK World reported.
Inside Over recently reported that amid a surge in COVID cases and economic crisis in the country, China is stuck in a dilemma as the imposition of the zero-COVID policy saved people's lives but at the same time, impacted the economy, effectively putting the second largest economy in a "double whammy".
According to the news report, there are predictions that China is expected to witness more than a million COVID-related death in the coming days. At the same time, the Chinese government is struggling to impose restrictions due to its negative effect on the country's economy. According to analysts, China's economic growth will fall to 2.8-3.2 per cent this year, which would be the lowest in 50 years.
The report said it's a "double whammy for China" because if Beijing "reimposes the Zero COVID policy to contain damages by upcoming Covid waves, there will be a huge impact on its economy. If not, people's lives will be in danger."
As per the Inside Over news report, China's retail sales reduced by 5.9 per cent in November year-on-year. Furthermore, industrial output and fixed asset investment have reduced to 2.2 per cent and 5.3 per cent respectively. The sudden shutdown of factories and small businesses resulted in huge livelihood losses.
The unemployment rate in China has reached 5.7 per cent while it rose to 17.1 per cent for young people aged between 16 to 24, according to the news report. Despite the rise in unemployment, the Chinese government continued with strict restrictions. However, the authorities eased some COVID-19 restrictions after the people held protests across the country. (ANI)