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Beijing Ready For ‘Life Again’ as Lockdowns Lift Across China

Analysts predict China may now re-open the economy and drop border controls sooner than expected next year, with some seeing it fully open in spring


People line up at a nucleic acid testing site to get tested for Covid-19 in Beijing, China
People line up at a nucleic acid testing site to get tested for Covid-19 in Beijing, China. Photo: Reuters

 

China’s capital Beijing further eased Covid curbs on Tuesday, ending the requirement for people to show negative tests to enter supermarkets and offices.

“Beijing readies itself for life again” read a headline in the government-owned China Daily newspaper. People were “gradually embracing” the slow return to normality, it added.

This is the latest in an easing of curbs across the country following last month’s historic protests that marked the biggest show of public discontent in mainland China since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012.

 

Also on AF: Covid Concerns Add to Apple’s Need to Diversify Out of China

 

Analysts at Nomura estimate that areas now under lockdown equate to around to be 19.3% of China’s total GDP, down from 25.1% last Monday.

This marks the first decline in Nomura’s closely-watched China Covid lockdown index since the start of October, nearly two months ago.

China may further announce 10 new nationwide easing measures as early as Wednesday, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

That has sparked optimism among investors for a broader reopening of the world’s second biggest economy.

 

Caution against hurried reopening

The shift comes as top officials softened their tone on the severity of the virus, bringing China closer to what other countries have been saying for more than a year.

But some experts have warned that China’s Covid-related death toll could rise above 1 million if the exit is too hasty.

There is also concern about the strain the loosening could put on China’s fragile health system. Many people remain wary of catching the virus, especially the elderly, many of whom remain unvaccinated.

Chinese officials, however, continue to downplay the dangers posed by the virus.

“The most difficult period has passed,” the official Xinhua news agency said in a commentary published late on Monday, citing the weakening pathogenicity of the virus and efforts to vaccinate 90% of the population.

Analysts predict China may now re-open the economy and drop border controls sooner than expected next year, with some seeing it fully open in spring.

 

  • Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena

 

Read more:

China’s Yuan Below 7 Per Dollar as Zero-Covid Eased – WSJ

China 2023 Earnings Forecasts Lifted by Reopening Boost Hopes

China Rolls Back Covid-19 Curbs in Beijing, Shenzhen

 

Vishakha Saxena

Vishakha Saxena is the Multimedia and Social Media Editor at Asia Financial. She has been working as a digital journalist since 2013, and is an experienced writer and multimedia producer. As an eager stock market trader and investor, she is keenly interested in economy, emerging markets and the intersections of finance and society. You can tweet to her @saxenavishakha

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