Coronavirus: China’s factories remain silent

Provinces extend manufacturing downtime further as reports suggest local authorities will aim to reopen manufacturing hubs in phases

Written by Rhys Thomas

Posted 11.02.2020 | Business

Coronavirus: China’s factories remain silent thumbnail

Factories in many of China’s busiest manufacturing hubs remain silent today following a new wave of shutdown extensions.

Workers were expected to yesterday return to factories in force after a period of quarantine closures aimed at stemming the spread of coronavirus, but different provinces have posted conflicting information.

Some industrial districts have reportedly now told companies not to begin work until next month, and those that will spin things back up face a diminished workforce due to restrictions placed on itinerant workers and those returning from other provinces.

Factory closures were last week imposed by more than 20 provinces, vital districts which, according to CNBC, accounted for 90 per cent of total exported goods in 2019 – and more than three quarters of China’s GDP.

Analysts are concerned the closures will snowball in coming months as factories struggle to deliver, leading to a delay in the delivery of goods around the world throughout the year.

A Morgan Stanley report seen by CNBC states that local authorities are muddying the waters further still, looking to control the flow of people and roll factory reopenings out in phases. Even then, productions is unlikely to resume at its normal level until 17 February “or later”.

Last week MGA founder Isaac Larian aired concerns that the already extended factory closures would hit the toy supply chain later in the year, and predicts the downtime at one of China’s biggest toy manufacturing plants “will extend [its closure] again”.

“The Coronavirus is not solely China’s problem – the spread of the virus and the implications of the virus will impact more than those who have been or will be afflicted by it – it will impact the global economy,” he said.


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