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Early Signs of Recovery Visible in China as Pollution Data Suggests Industrial Activity Picking up: IMF

People wearing face masks wait for a subway train on the first day the city's subway services resumed following the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Wuhan of Hubei province, the epicentre of China's coronavirus outbreak, March 28, 2020. The Chinese characters  REUTERS/Aly Song - RC2SSF9L5ZYZ

People wearing face masks wait for a subway train on the first day the city's subway services resumed following the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Wuhan of Hubei province, the epicentre of China's coronavirus outbreak, March 28, 2020. The Chinese characters REUTERS/Aly Song - RC2SSF9L5ZYZ

China, where the virus appeared in mid-December, was the first hit by the full force of the economic impact as authorities locked down whole regions to try to contain the spread.

The global recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic will be worse than in 2009, but early signs of a recovery are appearing in China, including renewed pollution, IMF economists said Monday.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the world into a recession. For 2020 it will be worse than the global financial crisis," the authors, including International Monetary Fund chief economist Gita Gopinath, said in a blog post.

"The economic damage is mounting across all countries, tracking the sharp rise in new infections and containment measures put in place by governments."

China, where the virus appeared in mid-December, was the first hit by the full force of the economic impact as authorities locked down whole regions to try to contain the spread.

The world's second largest economy, China saw a modest recovery in a key manufacturing index in March, and satellite images show increasing concentrations of nitrogen dioxide last month, indicating a pickup in industrial activity and transportation, the blog said.

"The recovery in China, albeit limited, is encouraging, suggesting that containment measures can succeed in controlling the epidemic and pave the way for a resumption of economic activity," the authors wrote.

However, they warned of "huge uncertainty about the future path of the pandemic and a resurgence of its spread in China and other countries cannot be ruled out."

There were more than 82,660 cases in China and 3,335 dead, according to Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, there are now 1.3 million confirmed cases.


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