China’s industrial output contracted at the fastest pace on record in the first two months of this year and urban unemployment hit its highest rate ever in February. The official data — some of the worst official figures ever reported by China — suggest President Xi Jinping’s attempts to expedite an economic recovery in late February have not had the desired effect, reported the Financial Times.
Industrial output tumbled 13.5% in the first two months of this year, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday. This would represent the largest contraction on record, according to Reuters data. The urban unemployment rate also surged to 6.2% in February, the NBS said.
The latest economic data also showed that China retail sales plummeted 20.5% year on year in January and February and fixed asset investment fell 24.5%, down from 5.4% growth when the data were last reported.
“The actual shock could be much bigger than those deeply negative January-February numbers suggest, because the lockdowns started only from 23 January,” said Nomura’s chief China economist Ting Lu.