China’s foreign trade of goods fell 11% year-on-year (YoY) in the first two months of 2020 amid disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.
Exports fell by 17.2% to $292.5 billion during the period, while imports decreased by 4% to $299.5 billion. Its trade with the US shrank by 19.6%, the European Union by 14.2% and Japan with 15.3% respectively.
The trade figures are China’s worst since 2009, when the world was recovering from the banking crisis and in the middle of the global recession.
At the beginning of 2020, Southeast Asia was China’s biggest region for trade and accounted for 14.4% of its global business with an increase of 2% YoY.
Coronavirus has threatened to cut China off from the global economy since its outbreak in December 2019.
Many of the biggest ports in the world, most of which trade heavily with China, have suffered drops in traffic amid congestion and uncertainty.
For example, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the two biggest in the US, have seen TEU traffic decline by 5.4% and 4.6% respectively.
Bucking the trend for Chinese trade have been countries along the Belt and Road, which grew by 1.8%.