Most of China’s DLT Firms That Closed in 2019 Were Scams or Poorly Planned By Cointelegraph


Most of China’s DLT Firms That Closed in 2019 Were Scams or Poorly Planned

Most of the blockchain firms that closed in 2019 were cryptocurrency scams or had deficient business models, according to recent research.

Research sent to Cointelegraph by Chinese market research firm EqualOcean on March 26 suggests that most blockchain-backed Chinese businesses that halted their activity last year had major flaws.

Continue Reading on Coin Telegraph

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Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



China’s Luckin Coffee says business will continue amid financial fraud probe By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A cup of ‘Luckin Coffee,’ coffee is displayed during the company’s IPO at the Nasdaq Market site in New York

BEIJING (Reuters) – Luckin Coffee Inc (O:) said on Sunday it will maintain normal operations at its stores and apologised to the public, days after it announced an internal investigation had shown its chief operating officer and other employees fabricated sales deals.

Shares of Luckin, which competes in China with Starbucks Corp (O:), sank as much as 81% on Thursday in New York after it said the investigation had found that fabricated sales from the second quarter of 2019 to the fourth were about 2.2 billion yuan ($310 million).

“Regarding the suspected financial fraud and the extremely bad impact it has caused, Luckin Coffee hereby sincerely apologizes to the public,” the company said in a post on its official Weibo account.

China’s securities regulator said on Friday it would investigate claims of fraud at Luckin Coffee and sources said some of the banks involved in the Chinese chain’s successful U.S. IPO last year were reviewing their work in the listing.

Founded in June 2017, Luckin’s IPO had attracted a number of prominent U.S. investors, including hedge funds.

Like others in the industry, the company has been hit hard by the coronavirus epidemic. In late January, it was forced to temporarily close an estimated 200 coffee shops in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the original epicentre of the outbreak, as well as many in other cities.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



China’s factory activity seen recovering in March, but still in contraction after virus shock By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Textile worker is seen on a fabric production line at a factory in Qingdao

BEIJING (Reuters) – Activity in China’s vast manufacturing sector likely remained in contraction in March, though it was set to stabilize slightly from the coronavirus-led collapse that virtually paralyzed the world’s second-biggest economy.

Analysts have warned that any recovery would be shallow as the coronavirus has rapidly spread to many countries, leaving the global economy vulnerable to a deep recession.

China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) is forecast to rise to 45 in March, from a record low of 35.7 a month earlier, according to the median forecast of 18 economists polled by Reuters.

Despite the partial improvement, the reading is still below the 50-point mark that separates monthly growth from contraction, with the pace of contraction equaling that during the depth of the global financial crisis.

Beijing, at great costs to the economy, had imposed draconian quarantine rules and travel restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus that has killed more than 3,000 in the country. But as locally transmitted infections dwindle, most businesses have reopened and life for millions of people has started to slowly return to normal.

Yet, the pace of business resumptions has been constrained by Beijing efforts to guard against a second wave of infections from abroad. Production levels at China’s small and medium-sized companies, a major employment sector, were at 76% by Saturday, with the rate of workers returning to their posts in the textile, auto, machinery industries varying from 70% to 90%, the vice industry minister Xin Guobin told a press conference on Monday.

“Because of the relatively slow business resumption rate and slumping external demand, we expect deeply negative growth for almost all activity data in March,” said Nomura analysts in a note to clients on Friday, adding that they expect first-quarter gross domestic product to shrink by 9% from a year earlier.

They now predict China’s second-quarter GDP growth to have stalled.

A survey last week from U.S.-based consultancy China Beige Book showed that China’s economy suffered through an “eye-popping” first quarter as a coronavirus epidemic hammered business activity even as firms were supposed to be going back to work.

EXPORT ORDERS DRY UP

Early in the outbreak, factory suspensions forced by Beijing to curb the spread of the virus had squeezed labor supplies and sent exporters scrambling to fulfill orders. Now, the reverse is happening – overseas orders are being scrapped as the pandemic ravages the economies of China’s trading partners and some factories have started to let people go.

China’s foreign trade could further worsen from January-February period, the vice industry minister Xin Guobin told a press conference on Monday, warning that the pandemic is set to cause a shock to the country’s supply chains and exports.

The country’s overseas shipments fell 17.2% in January-February from the same period a year earlier, marking the steepest fall since February 2019.

Profits at China’s industrial firms slumped in the first two months of the year to their lowest in at least a decade, official data showed on Friday, with the mining, manufacturing and power sectors all seeing sharp falls.

Faced with uncertain economic prospects, the ruling Communist Party’s Politburo said on Friday it would step up macroeconomic policy adjustments and pursue more proactive fiscal policy to revive activity. Beijing is implementing $344 billion of mainly fiscal measures.

The People’s Bank of China unexpectedly cut the rate on reverse repurchase agreements by 20 basis points on Monday, the largest in nearly five years, to shore up the economy.

The private-sector Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) due on Wednesday – which analysts say focuses more on smaller export-driven firms – is also expected to show a similar contraction at 45.8, compared with February’s sharpest contraction on record at 40.3.

The official PMI and its sister survey on the services sector will be released on Tuesday.



China’s industrial firms post steepest fall in profits in a decade By Reuters


© Reuters. Employees wearing face masks work on a car seat assembly line at Yanfeng Adient factory in Shanghai

By Gabriel Crossley and Roxanne Liu

BEIJING (Reuters) – Profits at China’s industrial firms slumped in the first two months of the year to their lowest in at least a decade, with the mining, manufacturing and power sectors all seeing sharp falls, as a virus epidemic battered China’s economy.

Profits earned by Chinese industrial firms in the first two months dropped 38.3% from a year earlier to 410.7 billion yuan ($58.15 billion), worsening from a 6.3% fall seen in December last year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data showed. It marked the steepest decline in data going back to 2010.

The reading combines the results for January and February to exclude distortions caused by the week-long Lunar New Year.

The outbreak escalated just as many businesses were closing for the long holiday break in late January, and widespread restrictions on transportation and personal travel, as well as mass quarantine, delayed their reopening for weeks.

The decline in profits points to lingering trouble for the manufacturing sector, which is wrestling with fallout from the health crisis that has severely hurt output. Most analysts now expect a contraction in gross domestic product in the first quarter.

Industrial production and sales fell sharply amid epidemic control efforts, while the costs of labor and depreciation continued to put pressure on companies, a statistics bureau official said in a statement published alongside the data.

Profits for the automobiles, electrical equipment, chemicals and electronics industries saw some of the steepest declines, with those for the latter falling 87%.

Only four of the 41 industries surveyed saw profit increases: tobacco products, non-ferrous metals, oil and gas exploitation, and processing of non-staple agricultural goods.

The weakness in profits was in line with broader pressures on Chinese factories.

Manufacturing output plummeted at the sharpest pace in three decades in the first two months as the virus outbreak interrupted normal production, while factory gate prices fell more than expected in February.

Industrial profits are expected to improve as the shock of the epidemic impact wanes and firms get back to work, but rising risk of a global recession will hurt the recovery.

“The profit outlook will remain bleak before new stimulus to aggregate demand,” said Xing Zhaopeng, markets economist at ANZ in Shanghai. “The worldwide lockdowns will continue to weigh on the economy.”

Louis Kuijs, economist at Oxford Economics, expects a recovery in profits to lag that in industrial output.

“With many companies operating below capacity and facing constraints because of remaining restrictions on the movement of people, profit margins will remain under pressure.”

For the first two months, profits at state-owned industrial firms dropped 32.9% on year, while private-sector profits fell 36.6%.

Liabilities at industrial firms grew 5.3% on year at end-February, versus a 5.4% increase as of end-2019.

Citing a survey by a major Chinese recruitment website, Capital Economics said findings suggest that close to a quarter of firms had stopped paying wages by last week. A further half of firms had cut or delayed pay.



Virus had ‘eye-popping’ impact on China’s economy: Beige Book By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People wearing face masks walk inside an office building at the Lujiazui financial district in Pudong

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s economy suffered through an “eye-popping” first quarter as a coronavirus epidemic hammered business activity, with deterioration even as firms were supposed to be going back to work, a private survey showed on Tuesday.

After surveying thousands of Chinese firms, China Beige Book International (CBB) suggested that “a 10-11% GDP contraction in the first quarter is not unreasonable.”

Indicators in the survey “continued to deteriorate even into mid-March when most firms were re-opening and supposedly ‘back to work,'” a statement from the U.S.-based consultancy said.

Private-sector analysts are slashing their growth forecasts for China to lows not seen since the Cultural Revolution ended in 1976 as the coronavirus epidemic led to widespread travel curbs and halted production in the world’s second-largest economy. The respiratory disease has killed more than 3,200 people and infected over 81,000 on the Chinese mainland.

New local infections in China have fallen sharply but China’s recovery now depends on other factors, CBB said.

“A few weeks ago, a V-shaped recovery in China wasn’t outlandish. With the COVID-19 virus spreading quickly, return-to-normalcy is looking more implausible by the day,” the statement said.

“Even if China can, its partners can’t – one by one, they are shutting down, for weeks or perhaps months. The China recovery story is no longer just about domestic resilience, but also factors beyond Beijing’s control.”

CBB warned that global markets do not seem prepared for the full extent of China’s first quarter weakness.

In addition, Beijing may be unwilling to admit through official statistics just how bad the economic impact of the virus was, the statement said.

“Investors may therefore be severely overestimating the extent of China’s recovery and hence the extent to which China can cushion a global downturn.”

Almost three quarters of executives interviewed said earnings had decreased in the first quarter, with the service sector hardest hit. Almost half of business-to-business firms reported a fall of more than 10% in sales volume in the first quarter.

Most analysts now expect China’s first quarter to contract, with estimates revised after dismal activity data for the first two months of the quarter.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



As China’s coronavirus outbreak eases, a wary return to shops for consumers By Reuters


As China’s coronavirus outbreak eases, a wary return to shops for consumers

By Winni Zhou and Brenda Goh

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – As shops shut their doors across Europe and the United States, in China the sharp drop in new coronavirus cases has encouraged consumers to venture back into malls and restaurants – for the most part quite gingerly but occasionally in throngs.

Helping consumers return has been a loosening of quarantine and other restrictions on business and social activity. Restaurants that have satisfied authorities with plans for curbing the risk of infection are now allowed to serve groups of diners and most stores have reopened, though big brands like IKEA and Apple Inc (O:) have restrictions on crowds.

After being mostly cooped up at home for weeks, Chen Jiayi, a 21-year-old college student in Shanghai, said it was like coming up for air when she went out on Saturday to buy coffee and cake.

“There were quite a lot of people in the city centre, it was a completely different picture from the end of February. There were even queues at the bubble tea and biscuit shops,” she said.

The epidemic, which has infected more than 800,000 in China and killed over 3,200, had kept hundreds of millions stuck at home since late January. Retail sales for the world’s second-largest economy shrank by a fifth in the first two months of 2020 from a year earlier.

But new cases have dropped sharply of late. The number of daily new cases for mainland China fell below 100 for the first time on March 6 and daily totals this week have been around 20 or less, almost all involving travelers from abroad.

Getting Chinese consumer spending back on its feet again soon is seen as imperative for the health of the domestic economy and the many people whose livelihoods depend on the retail and restaurant sectors.

It is also key for many international brands that have already seen first-quarter earnings dented by the outbreak in China and are bracing for tumbling sales in western markets.

For some big popular brands, the response to reopening has been encouraging.

Hundreds of shoppers thronged Apple’s stores on two main shopping streets in Shanghai over the weekend. IKEA, which opened three of its Beijing stores on March 8, saw high visitor numbers and queues as it implemented new social distancing rules such as only four people per elevator, state media reported.

And hotpot restaurants in the central city of Chongqing, where the dish is much beloved, were inundated with customers after they were allowed to reopen, with reported waiting times of 6 to 8 hours, TV broadcasts showed.

A FRAGILE PSYCHE

That said, the appetite to get out and spend is far from robust and many shops are still quite empty while some restaurants remain shut.

At the upscale Jing’an Kerry Centre mall in Shanghai this week, store assistants were arranging stock or looking at their phones amid a dearth of walk-in customers. And at the Gemdale Plaza mall in Beijing, only three of 10 restaurants on its top floor were open at Tuesday lunchtime.

Many Chinese say they remain worried about the possibility of new infections as more people return to work. They are also reluctant to spend much, fretting about job security and potential cuts to wages as the economy struggles.

“This has certainly been a fragile time in the psyche of Chinese consumers with all the fear and anxieties caused by uncertainty and information overflow,” said Derek Deng, partner at consultancy firm Bain & Company in Shanghai.

To encourage spending, some businesses have embarked on promotions offering discounts or gifts to customers upon reopening. Haidilao (HK:), a popular hotpot restaurant chain, gave away bags of soup stock and snacks to diners.

Local authorities in several provinces are also asking Communist Party officials to set an example by spending on food and shopping, and encouraging their friends and family to do the same. Some provinces are handing out coupons to the public to spend on food and books.

A Bain report predicts a post-epidemic consumption recovery will “largely follow patterns similar” to the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak. Then spending on food and cosmetics saw a quick return to normal while demand for clothing surged beyond pre-epidemic levels.

But just when a full recovery will happen remains unclear.

“Consumer sentiment is still in the process of returning from panic to normal or a new normal,” said Deng.

It also remains to be seen whether the epidemic will have a long-lasting impact on how consumers shop with some analysts speculating that online ordering and deliveries will become even more entrenched.

Emma Wang, a film producer in Beijing, said she regularly goes outside to walk her dog but does not feel any pent-up need to go shopping amid uncertain economic times.

“Personally, I am not thinking of rushing to the malls now. I have Hema supermarket for all daily essentials delivered to my apartment,” she said, referring to Alibaba Group Holding’s (N:) online grocery shopping service.



China’s coronavirus epicenter reports just five cases; Beijing tomb-sweepers urged to stay back


BEIJING (Reuters) – The Chinese city of Wuhan, ground zero of the coronavirus outbreak, reported just five new cases on Friday, the second day in a row the tally has been less than 10, while no locally transmitted infections were reported in the rest of the country.

A man wearing a protective face mask is seen following an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), at Lujiazui financial district in Shanghai, China March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song

Wuhan, capital of central Hubei province, registered the five new cases on Thursday, the National Health Commission said, down from eight cases the previous day. The commission routinely reports new cases the day after the data is collected.

Excluding Wuhan, Hubei had reported no new infections for eight consecutive days.

The province also lowered the epidemic risk ratings of several cities and regions, leaving only Wuhan classified as “high risk” as of the end of March 12, according to the Hubei Daily, a state-owned newspaper.

The commission said on Thursday China’s coronavirus epidemic had passed its peak, even as alarm over the virus intensified elsewhere with global markets suffering record falls and governments unveiling measures to try to slow the spread of a disease that has infected more than 127,000 people worldwide.

The financial hub of Shanghai reported two new cases, while Beijing saw one, all imported by people traveling to China from affected areas abroad, the health authority said.

Those cases brought the total number of new infections in mainland China to eight on Thursday, down from 15 the previous day, and the lowest since the healthy authority started publishing nationwide figures in January.

To date, the total accumulated number of cases in mainland China is 80,813.

The coronavirus has killed more than 3,000 people in mainland China.

It had also stalled the world’s second-largest economy as, beginning in January, authorities ordered work stoppages, travel restrictions and home quarantines.

As the measures start to pay off, local governments have been ordered to revive their economies, especially those in areas that have not had to deal with extensive outbreaks.

Hubei province has started to loosen the strict controls that kept up to 60 million people under a virtual lockdown for weeks.

Wuhan has seen some restrictions relaxed this week and the nearby city of Huanggang, which also had numerous coronavirus cases, on Friday begun relaxing its lockdown, saying that residents could start traveling within the city.

Outside Hubei, about 60% of small- and medium-sized firms and 95% of large ones have gone back to work, vice industry minister Xin Guobin said on Friday.

The death toll in mainland China reached 3,176 as of the end of Thursday, up by seven from the previous day.

In Hubei, there were six new deaths, with Wuhan accounting for all of them.

As the Qingming tomb-sweeping festival approaches, when millions of Chinese families traditionally pay respects to ancestors, clean their graves, offer flowers and burn incense, authorities in Beijing have urged the public to stay away.

“We will arrange free services at cemeteries, the staff will offer free tomb cleaning and free flowers,” said Li Quanxi, an official at Beijing’s civil affairs bureau.

Slideshow (2 Images)

“We want to encourage people to transform social traditions amid the coronavirus outbreak.”

The festival is on April 4.

Reporting by Ryan Woo, Huizhong Wu, Cheng Leng, Lusha Zhang, Se Young Lee, Muyu Xu, Roxanne Liu and Brenda Goh; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Nick Macfie



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China’s February auto sales plunge 79%, biggest monthly drop ever By Reuters



BEIJING (Reuters) – Auto sales in China plunged 79% in February, marking their biggest ever monthly decline, with demand pummeled by the coronavirus outbreak.

Sales in the world’s biggest auto market tumbled to 310,000 vehicles from the same month a year earlier, falling for a 20th straight month, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said.

“China’s auto sales for February returned levels not seen since 2005,” said Chen Shihua, a senior association official.

Sales of new energy vehicles, which include battery-electric cars, contracted for an eighth month in a row.

A CAAM official told Reuters last month that sales are likely to drop by more than 10% in the first half of this year. If the outbreak is effectively contained in China before April, the decline could be around 5% for the whole year, he added.

In Hubei province where the outbreak began and which is a major car manufacturing hub responsible for nearly 10% of China’s output, Dongfeng Motor Group Co Ltd (HK:) and its partners Honda Motor (T:), Renault SA (PA:) and Peugeot SA (PA:) have all said they are delaying the restart of production.

Tesla’s (O:) production and delivery plans in Shanghai, have also been disrupted.

However, after authorities in Wuhan on Wednesday lifted restrictions on a limited number of key industries in the city and allowed some people to return to work, Honda resumed limited output at a car plant in the city.

Nissan Motor (T:) has also said it plans to partially resume production in Xiangyang, another city in Hubei, as well as its plant in Zhengzhou, Henan.

Industry-wide auto sales fell 8.2% last year, pressured by new emission standards in a shrinking economy and trade tensions with the United States.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



China’s building work stalls in February, as virus keeps workers indoors By Reuters


© Reuters. Workers wearing face masks are seen at a construction site for the expansion of Guiyang Longdongbao International Airport as an airplane flies over, in Guiyang, Guizhou

BEIJING/TOKYO (Reuters) – China’s construction activities were stalled in February as the government extended Lunar New Year holidays and advised people to stay indoors as a precaution against a coronavirus outbreak.

The flu-like epidemic, which originated in the central city of Wuhan, has killed 3,158 and infected more than 80,000 in mainland China.

Data from Japan’s Komatsu (T:), one of the world’s biggest makers of earth-moving equipment, showed use of its machinery in China fell nearly 30% to 32 hours last month, from a year ago.

That compares to 59.1 hours in January and 44.9 hours in February last year.

(Graphic: Average usage hours of Komatsu machines in China – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/7/8997/8978/Komatsu.jpg)

Millions of construction workers in China returned to their hometowns for traditional week-long Lunar New Year celebrations, which kicked off in late January.

But the government extended the holiday for an extra two weeks in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.

Property and infrastructure projects, including the second-phase of the China-Russia pipeline project, were halted until late February.

The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) showed the sharpest contraction in factory activity on record in February, down sharply to 40.3 from 51.1 in January.

(Graphic: China’s Caixin/Markit PMI – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/7/8998/8979/PMI.jpg)

Inventory of construction steel rebar with Chinese traders [SH-TOT-RBARINV] soared to a record high of 12.23 million tonnes by Friday, up nearly 20% on the year, data compiled by Mysteel consultancy showed.

(Graphic: China’s Shanghai rebar inventory – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/7/8999/8980/steel%20inventory.jpg)

Average utilisation rates at cement producers across China last week were 13.71%, up 5.13 percentage points on the week. But cement producers in northern China remained mainly shut as resumption at construction sites was still slow.

With the drop in new infections, China has been striving to bring workers back to their posts and enable firms to resume operations, by offering financial support and approving new infrastructure projects.

By Wednesday, 24 regions had lowered emergency response levels to the epidemic. The transport ministry expects all migrant workers to return to their workplaces by early April.

(Graphic: China’s passenger travel flows – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/7/9000/8981/transportation%20ministry.jpg)

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.



China’s Economy Is Getting Back to Work After Virus Shutdowns By Bloomberg



(Bloomberg) — China’s economy is beginning to revive, as the government signals progress in battling the coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 3,100 people and sickened tens of thousands at home.

Government controls and the fear of going outside have curtailed consumer spending, and many factories are still not working at full capacity due to clogged logistics systems, a lack of staff, or limited supplies and raw materials.

The economy was likely running at 70% to 80% capacity last week, according to a Bloomberg Economics report, while China International Capital Corp estimated it was at about 76% as of March 8.

The following data track how much of the world’s second-largest economy remains out of action.

Industrial Demand

Demand for coal to make electricity was the highest it’s been since Jan. 21 on Monday, but it’s still about 20% below where it was this time last year or in 2018. Along with anecdotal reports from across China’s vast east-coast manufacturing heartland, the power numbers suggest much of the nation’s industrial capacity is running at less than full capacity or is still idle.

That rise in electricity demand may not be a perfect indicator of increasing production. Some cities have given businesses targets for energy consumption because the government is using electricity data to show a resurgence in output. That prompted some firms to run machinery even though the plant was empty and not producing anything, according to people familiar with the matter.

However emissions of pollution from industrial activity confirm the same trend as electricity output — down after the Lunar New Year and then slowly recovering, according to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, which cited satellite data.

Air Pollution Vanishes Across China’s Industrial Heartland

In a survey of over 150 American companies in China in mid-February, only about 18% said they would be back to normal by the end of last month, with another 28% expecting that would happen by the end of March.

  • Coronavirus Hitting U.S. Companies in China Hard, AmCham Says
  • European Companies in China See ‘Severe’ Impact From Outbreak

The slowdown of refineries and dropping demand has led to larger stockpiles of .

Imports of liquefied had shown signs of life and rebounded in late February, but dropped off again last week as the market is oversupplied, with storage full and demand weak.

Imports of LNG will remain weak in March and April as industrial gas consumption has fallen sharply due to the coronavirus outbreak, Shanghai Petroleum & Natural Gas Exchange said Monday on its official WeChat account.

Moving Goods and People

About the same number of trips by planes, trains, automobiles and boats were taken in the run up to the Lunar New Year this year compared to last year, but the fall off since the first day of the Year of the Rat on Jan. 25 was stark.

About 78 million migrant workers have returned to work, which is about 60% of those who went back home for lunar new year, an official at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said at a press conference on March 7. Almost all workers will have returned by early April, a transport ministry official said at the same event.

China’s largest private employer, which makes iPhones and many other electronic devices, said last week it would be operating normally by the end of this month, after resolving severe labor shortages brought on by the outbreak.

Note: Economists at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Nomura Holdings and Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE:) are among those that have referred to some of these indicators in recent research. Bloomberg News will update this item as the situation continues to involve, adding data as it becomes available.

(The number of trips taken by migrant workers on their return was corrected in an earlier version of this story.)