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Business News of Tuesday, 23 June 2020


Coronavirus: Automobile sales rebound - World Trade Organisation

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The World Trade Organisation(WTO) has said although purchases of consumer durables such as automobiles fell sharply earlier in the COVID-19 crisis, other economic sectors have shown signs of resilience in recent weeks.

It said sales of consumer electronics have thus far held up better than might have been expected, supporting international trade in these products.

For example, according to China's customs statistics, the country's exports of automatic data processing machines, including computers, were up 30% year-on-year in US dollar terms in April.

Anecdotal evidence similarly points to strong demand for computer and information technology services, which have facilitated working from home during the crisis.

“Automobile sales have also rebounded from recent, though admittedly extreme, lows. For example, sales of cars in China were up 5% year?on?year in May after falling 79% in February,” WTO said.

“Car sales in Western Europe and the United States were still down sharply in May compared to last year, but declines were smaller than in the previous month.

“Increased purchases of consumer durables could be seen as a bellwether signalling renewed consumer confidence as lockdowns are lifted and economies start to revive.

“They will thus be closely monitored in the coming months.”