The onset of the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak catalysed major slowdowns in regional trade and halted export-import activities in several impacted countries. China, one of the biggest global suppliers of raw materials, experienced a decline in commodity prices and the volume of raw materials exports as the coronavirus rapidly spread across the country.
According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the country’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)—an indicator of growth in the manufacturing and service sectors—dropped from 50.2 in December to 50.0 in January. Any index below the neutral-point mark of 50 would signal a decline in sector growth. In February, China’s PMI fell to 40.3—the lowest point in the last 12 years.