Officially in Beijing there were 1,661 new covid cases on Saturday but few locals believe those numbers and Reuters openly questioned them in a report today.
“Evidence suggests there are many more cases in Beijing, which has a population of nearly 22 million people, as everyone seems to know someone who has caught COVID-19,” the report says.
In a Florida-style move, regular testing has been scrapped and official case numbers have plunged.
The Reuters report also suggests that people are staying home because they don’t want to catch the virus. What’s not certain is how strongly people will avoid the virus because China has spent nearly 3 years touting the risks.
“Sunday is a normal business day for shops in Beijing and it is usually bustling, particularly in spots like the historic Shichahai neighborhood packed with boutiques and cafes. However, few people were out and about yesterday, and malls in Chaoyang, Beijing’s most populous district, were practically deserted with many salons, restaurants and retailers shut.”
That’s not an unexpected outcome but it’s happened faster than almost anyone had envisioned. It will mean dampened demand for some commodities in the short-term but it’s all part of the reopening process. This kind of response though goes some way to explaining the drop in oil prices, though they have rebounded $1 at the weekly open.
In the medium-term, demand will return strongly and most markets will quickly look beyond any short-term pain.