As China heads to a long Labor Day weekend (1st to 5th May), the uppermost question in the minds of all policymakers, is how to spur more consumption and get the economy back on the path to recovery as quickly as possible. Authorities are working on brainstorming ideas (new and old) such as launching new shopping festivals or distributing consumption coupons. However, if the past weekend is anything to go by, China is already in the midst of a strong recovery – there were queues outside many restaurants, shopping malls had a lot more people and we had queues outside some luxury goods shops as well.
Let us look at what the numbers for our China recovery dashboard indicate:
- Q2 GDP forecasts range between -3% to 6.5%, with the bulk of the forecasts in positive terrain which signifies recovery. Forecasts for Q3 and Q4 are in the 5- 6% range, indicating an expectation of strong positive momentum for the economy in the second half.
- Most of the sectors being tracked in our China recovery dashboard are posting week-over-week positive growth, with many sectors are already in positive territory on a year-on-year basis indicating a broad-based recovery.
- As the restrictions are gradually lifted and confidence returns, the consumption of goods and products related to fitness and outdoor activity has started increasing week-over-week.
- The purchase of disinfectants and masks has been stabilizing, and the purchase of protective glasses is going down. This could be a sign of people getting comfortable with the current situation and relaxing some of their inhibitions related to social interactions. These indicators will tell a very interesting story over the next few weeks.
- While a broad-based recovery is underway, the tale is somewhat different for Beijing and Wuhan.
- Beijing has implemented stricter restrictions, which is reflected in dropping NO2 emissions when compared to other bustling economic clusters such as Shanghai and Shenzhen.
- Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, has started late – its traffic congestion is 80% to that of last year. Other large cities are tending towards 100% (or more in some cases).
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