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Roiled by COVID-19, China's rust-belt province Jilin suffers rare GDP slump

BEIJING: China's Jilin, a rust-belt province in the northeast, saw its economy shrink by 7.9 per cent in January-March from a year earlier in a rare contraction after being overwhelmed by a wave of COVID-19 cases towards the end of the quarter.

Jilin's gross domestic product (GDP) slumped to 257.62 billion yuan (US$38.97 billion) in the period from January to March, the local statistics bureau said on Thursday (Apr 28).

That plunge was even worse than its 6.6 per cent decline in the same quarter of 2020 when China was hit by the arrival of COVID-19. Jilin was the only province that reported a GDP decline in the first quarter this year.

Jilin, which spans 187,400 sq km, or the equivalent of two Portugals, was virtually COVID-free this year until March, during which it reported more than 45,000 infections.

On Mar 14, all of its 24.1 million residents were prohibited from travelling out of the province, or even across different areas within the province, dealing a blow to its economy.

After a lockdown of more than a month, Jilin announced this week that it will gradually lift COVID-19 control measures in its urban areas from Thursday.

Changchun, capital of Jilin, has already allowed people living in tens of thousands of residential compounds to leave their homes though their movements have been largely limited to their compounds, state television reported.

Thirty of mainland China's 31 provinces, regions and municipalities have released their first-quarter economic statistics. Tibet had yet to publish its GDP data as of Thursday.

Source: Reuters/az

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