As Chinese manufacturers return to work following a nearly two-month shutdown during the Covid-19 epidemic, many are finding they have no work because foreign clients cancelled or slashed orders as the pandemic spread globally, reported Caixin.
China’s Ministry of Commerce Monday warned that the foreign trade sector may face a decline in orders even though two-thirds of key manufacturers outside of Hubei, where the outbreak hit the hardest, have resumed more than 70% of operations. Several exporters told Caixin that their business is worse than after the financial crisis of 2008. “The whole world feels paralyzed,” said one.
In Yiwu, the world’s largest small-commodity wholesale market in East China’s Zhejiang Province, a jewelry exporter said 5% of its orders have been canceled since last week, and those that haven’t done so are considering scaling back or delaying shipments. “Last week, an Italian client suddenly told us they don’t need the goods anymore,” the jewelry exporter said. “Some clients are asking for a two-month delay in shipment.”
March is usually the business peak for jewelry exporters. Orders for the spring and summer collections are usually fulfilled at this time, and clients begin to place orders for their fall and winter collections. But this year the company hasn’t received any new orders and expects a 30%-40% decline in total orders for the year, the Yiwu jewelry exporter said.