How China’s COVID surge will affect the world economy

It would be a gross understatement to say China is ill-prepared for President Xi Jinping’s recent abrupt abandonment of his zero-COVID policy. With a large part of the population inadequately vaccinated, COVID is spreading like wildfire across the country. More than half the passengers on a China-to-Italy flight this week tested positive.

Leaked notes from Chinese official estimates reveal that over the past 20 days, as many as 250 million people might have been infected with the virus. It’s now leading to widespread workplace absenteeism and a sharp drop in consumer and investor confidence in the economy.

There’s never a good time for COVID chaos to strike China, the world’s second-largest economy and until recently the world’s main engine of economic growth. But it’s a particularly bad time for such a shock.

China’s economy was already in a weakened…

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