US companies present in China are increasingly pessimistic about the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, and foresee a drop in business volume, says a study published on Wednesday.
In February, the Chinese economy was virtually paralyzed by anti-epidemic measures that forced hundreds of millions of Chinese to stay home.
The activity is struggling to resume, although in large cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, it seems more fit for a few days.
A report by the United States Chamber of Commerce in China states that 57% of its members forecast a drop in billing this year if it does not return to normal before the end of April. They are nine points more than in February.
Among the reasons mentioned are: travel restrictions in China (68%), problems abroad due to the pandemic (50%) and a drop in demand (44%).
Half of the US companies surveyed estimate that it is still too early to assess possible losses. 14% of them expect to lose at least 500,000 yuan per day (65,500 euros, $ 70,800).
“The epidemic continues to pose difficulties for our companies, but they are now concerned about the consequences in the world,” where the coronavirus is expanding, forcing many countries to take confinement measures, says US Chamber President Greg Gilligan.
China called on Monday to “put an end to the restrictions” imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic “that are hindering the resumption of work” in areas considered low risk.
On March 13, at the time of the survey, only 8% of the 119 American companies said that all their employees had returned to work (compared to 6% active in Hubei province, the epicenter of the epidemic) .
39% of US companies believe that the pandemic could force China to open the market more to foreign companies, one of the many points of friction between the United States and the Asian giant.