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Lianhe Zaobao: Satellite Data Showed Worsening Consumer Activities in China

Singapore’s primary Chinese language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao recently reported that satellite data showed that retail activities in China have worsened both online and offline. E-commerce demand was particularly weak, and activities in e-commerce distribution centers were even lower than in 2020. According to data shared by satellite image analysis company SpaceKnow, China’s intercity truck flow fell by 20 percent in August, and this indicator is directly related to GDP. Distribution centers faring much better during the 2020 outbreak than they are now. The data also indicated weaker earnings trend for companies like Alibaba could continue as consumers cut back on spending. The weakness also spread to brick-and-mortar retailers, with changes in the number of cars in mall parking lots in August being much lower than the same period in 2021. Chinese officials have tried to use government spending on infrastructure to reinvigorate growth. However, high-frequency data suggests that the infrastructure boost has so far not been able to offset the blow to the construction sector from a sharp drop in China’s real-estate market. Public data shows that China’s consumer confidence index fell to its lowest level in nearly a decade in April and has barely rebounded since then.

Source: Lianhe Zaobao, September 1,2022