Chinese imports have dropped 0,1% compared to the previous year in dollar terms, constituting the first drop since August 2020 , with a figure well below the median forecast of an increase of 8,4%. Meanwhile, exports grew 14,7%, customs data showed, above the 12,8% forecast but slower than the 16,3% increase in the first two months of the year.
Port congestion and logistics bottlenecks worsened in March, affecting both inbound and outbound maritime traffic. The blockade of the city of Shanghai has created congestion at the world's largest port, with growing queues of ships there and at other ports trying to handle diverted shipments. The number of container ships waiting off Shanghai from April 11 was 15% higher than the previous month.
The blockades are suffered by 17,3 million truckers who keep store shelves full at the same time as they connect the country's ports with their manufacturing centers, transporting around three-quarters of the total cargo. Drivers are hampered by repeated mandatory COVID testing and the need to show negative results at multiple checkpoints.
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