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China counts economic losses as dust begins to settle on outbreak

Consumer spending plummets, but signs of recovery as Uniqlo reopens stores

China's National Health Commission said Thursday the peak of the domestic COVID-19 outbreak was over.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- The novel coronavirus outbreak has exacted a heavy toll on consumer spending in China, with smartphone and auto sales falling precipitously and travel and other leisure activities coming to a standstill.

China's National Health Commission said Thursday that the peak of the domestic COVID-19 outbreak was over, and some retailers and restaurants have resumed business. But containment efforts, including the extension of the Lunar New Year holiday and restrictions on people's movement, came with a great economic cost.

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