June 1, 2022
COVID Update China
China is currently facing the largest amount of cases since the pandemic started, as it is battling the Omicron variant. Counter measures and restrictions imposed in parts of the country are seriously impacting supply chains again. This page shall serve as platform for regular updates to our members.
Update June 1st 2022 – 06:00 hrs – CET
The lockdown in Shanghai is finally over. While people are still subject to regular testing, green health code, masks, QR code scanning at venues and temperature control at most buildings and venues, most citizens can leave their homes and compounds again and the city is on its way back!
Now it remains to be seen what the repercussions for supply chains are and if we will face a ketchup bottle effect, bullwhip or anything the like.
Previous Update May 29th 2022 – 18.00 hrs – CET
The situation in China remained difficult and the economic pain from the lockdown is increasingly setting in. More and more of our members, partners and friends in Shanghai have been released from their compounds for a few hours on selected days, but there did not seem to be a structured approach for returning to normal. However, today May 29th the government formally announced that a formal return to work of all is expected by June 1st, which hopefully will speed up things.
Ports continue operating, but supply chains still remain heavily impacted by limited production in factories, shortage of truckers and warehouse closures.
- All back to work June 1st? https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/qXPNalzNoSFasxzNrZZImg
- Some expect a cargo tsunami: https://splash247.com/terminals-around-the-world-brace-as-shanghai-exhales/
- Consultants view:
- KPMG International | May 2022 | China Economic Monitor: Q2 2022 https://home.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/cn/pdf/en/2022/05/china-economic-monitor-q2-2022.pdf
- International Monetary Fund IMF | April 2022 | World Economic Outlook, War Sets back the Global Recovery https://www.imf.org/-/media/Files/Publications/WEO/2022/April/English/text.ashx
- Yardeni Research | May 2022 | Country Briefing: China https://www.yardeni.com/pub/chinacb_bb.pdf
- Deloitte | April 2022 | Economic Monitor Q1 2022 https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/dk/Documents/audit/Deloitte%20Economic%20Monitor%20Q1%202022.pdf
- Caixa Bank Research | May 2022 | Inflation on the rise: will wages follow? Wage dynamics https://www.caixabankresearch.com/sites/default/files/content/file/2022/05/17/34411/informemensual-2205-en.pdf
- ING | May 2022 | China’s growth rate likely to contract this quarter given latest activity data https://think.ing.com/downloads/pdf/article/china-gdp-could-contract-in-2q22-with-weak-activity-data
- PWC | May 2022 | China Economic Quarterly Q1 2022 https://www.pwccn.com/en/research-and-insights/china-economic-quarterly-q1-2022.pdf
- KPMG | April 2022 | Global Economic Outlook https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2022/04/global-economic-outlook.pdf
- How long will it last? https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-61023811
- Several economists cutting their forecast for China’s 2022 GDP to somewhere between 2-4% instead of the governments target of 5.5% for the year: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-19/economists-cut-china-growth-forecasts-as-lockdowns-hit-economy
- ING Banks economic outlook for China: https://think.ing.com/articles/chinas-longer-than-expected-lockdown-needs-government-intervention
- Latest economic data spooks shipping: https://splash247.com/latest-china-economic-data-spooks-shipping/
- Shanghai’s industrial output suffered in April: https://www.shine.cn/biz/economy/2205215888/
- Situation for expats remains difficult too: https://www.sixthtone.com/news/1010282/eventually%2C-chinas-borders-will-reopen.-will-foreigners-return
- China approach to zero covid, remains science driven: https://amp-scmp-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/amp.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3177718/why-science-not-ideology-guiding-chinas-covid-19-policy
- Public Transport in Shanghai gradually restoring: https://www.shine.cn/news/metro/2205215884/
- Big volume surge after opening to be expected? https://theloadstar.com/peak-season-set-to-be-shanghaied-as-260k-boxes-bullwhip-market/
Previous Update May 16th 2022 – 08.00 hrs – CET
Shanghai gradually opening
The Zero Covid policy remains clear. As cases are finally declining further, the Shanghai government has announced an opening up schedule that sees a gradual lifting of limitations starting May 16th, towards June 1st. However none of our colleagues and friends are free yet and we shall wait to see the action on the announcement and shall monitor how warehousing, trucking and production facilities will be impacted.
==== From our last update May 8th ====
The Chinese government last week made their stance on Zero Covid very clear and the signal to all levels is a “whatever it takes” approach. From the perspective of countries that are all opening up, this might look very strange and measures draconian, but just looking at 1 mio dead in the US, this would easily mean 4-5 Mio in China (not even considering knock-on effects), which no leadership wants to have on their hands. The fear of being considered slacking, being responsible for new cases or an increase in numbers seems to cause those responsible, from compound volunteers to district leaders to rather manage too tight than too little. Despite some reports of individual cases being “free” or having returned to work, no one within our contacts has moved beyond the limits of their compound, albeit some warehouses were allowed to work under limited conditions. And we may expect this situation to last at least for the month of June. The famous “GaoKao”, annual university entry exam, for this year has just been postponed by one month to July 7-9, which can be taken as an indicator for that.
The Chinese government is willing to bleed economically for this, we can likely expect more stimuli and maybe compensation to certain businesses, for which there are reserves as China did not suffer like other countries in recent years. However we can no doubt anticipate that the ongoing situation will pull down global GDP and have further ripple effects for supply chains.
We are in for another ride on the rollercoaster.
From a logistics perspective, ports and airports continue operating but trucking continues to remain the key limitation, as drivers are locked up or limited by a wide range of different regulations when moving around, from sealing of cabins to extended testing. Liners have started to implement blank sailings whenever and wherever they feel lower demand, following their recipe of success from 2020.
Some useful links on the matter:
- Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/world/china/shanghai-start-gradually-reopening-malls-other-firms-covid-lockdown-transition-2022-05-15/
- CNA Update: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/shanghai-lockdown-reopening-businesses-malls-2686116
- Splash 24/7 on opening up: https://splash247.com/shanghai-authorities-claim-city-will-open-up-next-week/
- SCMP article on the opening schedule: https://www.scmp.com/business/article/3177877/shanghai-lockdown-city-counts-down-towards-june-1-end-controls-daily-covid
- An article on the tough life of truck drivers during the lockdown: https://www.shine.cn/news/in-focus/2205155628/
- Operational Update from several members:
- China Watcher Pascal Coppens with a good overview on a Chinese perspective: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atW9OXkUZiQ
- And those more interested in political decision making, check here: https://sinocism.com/p/standing-committee-doubles-down-on?s=r
- No slackening off, despite falling numbers: https://www.shine.cn/news/metro/2205075301/
- If we review the potential GDP impacted as analysed by Allianz in April – We are in the “downside scenario” now already: https://www.allianz.com/content/dam/onemarketing/azcom/Allianz_com/economic-research/publications/specials/en/2022/april/2022_04_20_ChinaZeroCovid-final.pdf
- European Chamber of Commerce Flash Survey: https://www.europeanchamber.com.cn/en/press-releases/3431
- Splash247 Update: https://splash247.com/no-lockdown-let-up-in-china-as-damaging-economic-data-rolls-in/
- Freightwaves, as per liners, no chaos yet: https://www.freightwaves.com/news/china-lockdowns-not-causing-shipping-chaos-say-liner-ceos