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Prices for African Exports to China Fall Precipitously, While the Cost of Chinese Imports Surges

A general view of at the Yangshan Deep-Water Port, an automated cargo wharf, in Shanghai on April 9, 2018. Trade at many Chinese ports has slowed dramatically due to the COVID-19 crisis. Johannes EISELE / AFP

The dramatic economic slowdown underway now in China due to the COVID-19 outbreak is acutely felt now across Africa’s economies in ways both large and small. Given the close economic ties between China and the overwhelming majority of African countries, the scale of the impact is expected to be enormous, as much as $4 billion this year alone according to a recent forecast by the London-based Overseas Development Institute.

Very few sectors in African economies are likely to going to avoid impact as commodity prices plummet on global markets while the cost of importing Chinese goods rises considerably amid constricted trade between the two regions.

  • NIGERIA: The surging cost of automotive spare parts in Nigeria highlights the downside of the country’s dependence on China for a range of low-cost imported goods that fill market shelves across the country. With flights and shipping out of China effectively now severely restricted, the cost of all those imported products, consumer and industrial, is going to rise accordingly in Nigeria and across the continent. (THE SUN)
  • SOUTH AFRICA: The price of a kilo of South African lobster has fallen dramatically in the past few weeks from 340 rand to less than half at just 120 rand due to China’s decision to halt all seafood imports. Furthermore, with only a few flights now between China and Africa, shipping perishable products like food is almost impossible. (REUTERS)
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