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China's economy skids as coronavirus paralyses factories and households

Jan-Feb industrial output shrinks to 30-year low as investment and retail sales fall

Employees work on a car seat assembly line in Shanghai, China, in February. China's industrial output for the combined months of January and February shrank 13.5% from the same period last year, disrupted by the coronavirus.   © Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) -- China's factory production plunged at the sharpest pace in 30 years in the first two months of the year as the fast-spreading coronavirus and strict containment measures severely disrupted the world's second-largest economy.

Urban investment and retail sales also fell sharply and for the first time on record, reinforcing views that the epidemic may have cut China's growth by half in the first quarter and that authorities will need to do more to restore growth.

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