Chinese exporters are being hurt by sky-high freight costs and rising raw material prices, rather than falling demand for goods from developed countries that are ready to reopen their factories.

Freight prices have jumped more than 400% from last year, causing importers to question the economic viability of buying from China.

Lu Zhengwei, chief economist at China Industrial Bank, said freight costs as a proportion of total export expenses were no longer trending down, as they were before the pandemic.

Li, whose company exports playing cards and board games to North America, said many clients had cancelled orders after her company raised prices on the back of surging raw material and freight costs.

“We are supposed to be really busy from May to October, but we haven’t had any peak season this year”.

Many producers of low-value goods have started cutting back on production and turning away orders to preserve their margins