BEIJING (Reuters) - The economies of Shanghai and Beijing contracted in the second quarter from a year earlier as strict restrictions under China’s zero-COVID policy took a toll.
The economies of five out of China’s 31 provinces, regions and municipalities including Shanghai and Beijing shrank in April-June, versus a tepid 0.4% year-on-year growth at the national level.
Shanghai’s economy slumped 13.7% in the quarter following citywide lockdowns in April and May, the biggest contraction among all province-level regions, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Friday.
With most businesses shut, Shanghai’s survey-based urban jobless rate rose to 12.5%, also the highest among all province-level regions, versus 5.8% at the national level.
The economy of the Chinese capital Beijing dropped 2.9% as gyms, restaurants and part of the public transport were closed during the quarter due to an outbreak of the Omicron variant.
The economy of highly industrialised Jiangsu, the country’s second-biggest province by economic output, shrank 1.1%, hit by COVID cases particularly in April and May.
Elsewhere, the economy of Hainan, an island province popular among domestic tourists, declined 2.5% with visitors staying away given concerns about possible travel restrictions.
The northeastern province of Jilin, battered by protracted COVID curbs from March, saw its economy shrink 4.5% in the second quarter, after slumping 7.9% in the prior quarter.
Persistent pressure over coming months from a darkening global growth outlook is expected to weigh on China’s recovery and the government’s 2022 growth target of around 5.5%.
“The downside pressure on the broad economy is huge,” said Ken Cheung, chief Asian FX strategist at Mizuho Bank, expecting the authorities to focus on target easing measures in the second half of this year.
“It is challenging to reach this year’s growth target.”
Reporting by Ellen Zhang and Ryan Woo; Editing by Himani Sarkar
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.