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China’s Consumer Confidence Crisis Will Leave Permanent Scars

Lockdowns, unemployment, and a lack of government help have sent sentiment to a record low.
relates to China’s Consumer Confidence Crisis Will Leave Permanent Scars
Illustration: George Wylesol for Bloomberg Businessweek

With the spike in inflation, US consumer sentiment has plunged to a record low. So imagine how the Chinese feel as they struggle through months of some of the world’s strictest pandemic controls—including citywide lockdowns in some places.

Two years ago, Chinese consumers rebounded quickly from the initial outbreak of Covid-19. There wasn’t much economic trauma then. Only small geographical areas were affected, and within three months life was back to normal. This time, two and a half months after a full lockdown in Shanghai, the government is still struggling to contain the very infectious omicron variant. In recent days it reversed and delayed the reopenings of Shanghai and Beijing.