China’s foreign trade plummeted 11 per cent year-on-year in the first two months of 2020 to 591.99 billion dollars, according to statistics released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC) on Saturday.
It is the first time the GAC has released such figures since the new coronavirus broke out in China in December.
Exports dropped 17.2 per cent and imports fell 4 per cent compared to January and February last year, settling at 292.45 billion and 299.54 billion dollars, respectively.
The drop is due “mainly to the effects of the novel coronavirus outbreak and the Spring Festival holiday,” according to a notice from the customs administration.
China’s trade data for January was expected to be released early last month, but the GAC announced it would be combining it with February’s import and export figures to be released in March instead.
The figures have been anticipated as a barometer for how the world’s second-largest economy has suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has caused the closure of workplaces nation-wide and put tens of millions of people under lockdown.