Zero-Covid policy is costing China its role as the world’s workshop

Beijing’s endless lockdowns are causing shortages for western firms such as Apple, and it may not be long before they move their supply chains elsewhere

The anti-lockdown unrest gripping China has forced the authorities in Beijing to respond by easing some restrictions in big manufacturing centres, as they map out a “new stage and mission” in the country’s deeply unpopular zero-Covid policy.

There are concerns that more freedom of movement could allow the virus to rip through a population where immunity is lower than in the west. Those health risks mean the “world’s workshop” is heading for a difficult winter, casting a shadow over the prospects for international trade.

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Rise in Covid cases slows manufacturing in China to weakest in two years

Output is contracting as Beijing’s tough pandemic measures force some factories to shut down

Output from China’s manufacturing sector slowed to its weakest in almost two years in January as the country’s tough anti-Covid measures forced factories into temporary shutdowns.

A monthly snapshot of industry in the world’s second biggest economy showed production being hard hit by Beijing’s zero-tolerance approach to the pandemic.

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India’s ‘pencil village’ counts the cost of Covid school closures

Ukhoo village in Kashmir supplies 90% of wood used in the country’s pencils, but the industry, a major employer in the area, has seen a dramatic drop in demand

School closures in India during the pandemic have left their mark on more than the children who have seen delays to their learning. In one Kashmiri village the impact has been catastrophic on employment.

Pick up a pencil anywhere across India and it is likely to come from the poplar trees of Ukhoo.

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Global chip shortage hits car production in China and Japan

Semiconductor problem hits wider industry, with growth in China at four-month low and 6% drop in Japan

The ongoing global shortage in the supply of semiconductors is affecting manufacturing in China and Japan, according to data, with car production among the industries hit.

A shortage in semiconductor chips, which are the “brain” found inside every kind of electronic device, from PCs and TVs to games consoles and cars, has dogged economies for over a year.

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