Arthur Kroeber

China’s authorities are trying to avoid 300 million migrant workers to go home for Chinese New Year, in an effort to avoid another embarrassing corona lockdown like in 2020, says leading economist Arthur Kroeber in the New York Times.

The New York Times:

The Chinese government is trying to avoid a major outbreak that could undermine the country’s economic recovery. Last year’s lockdowns tipped China’s economy into its first contraction in nearly a half-century, but it later bounced back as officials ordered its state-run banks to lend and factories to open. Earlier this month, China reported that its economy grew 2.3 percent in 2020, most likely outpacing other large countries, including the United States.

Getting people to spend money has been less effective. Another widespread outbreak would cast a pall on any pent-up demand for shopping that usually accompanies the Lunar New Year holiday.

“What would be really damaging is if the virus spread enough to have to shut down more factories and construction sites,” said Arthur Kroeber, managing director of Gavekal Dragonomics, an independent economic research firm.

Mr. Kroeber said the authorities did not seem eager for a repeat of last year’s draconian response.

“They are trying to walk a tightrope,” Mr. Kroeber said. To impose harsh rules on gatherings for a second year “would be embarrassing,” he added.

More in the New York Times.

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