China was one of the first major economies to emerge from COVID-related lockdowns, and as such is being viewed as a bellwether for other states further behind on the normalization curve. Q1 2021 numbers set a high bar: industrial production roared back with 35.1% year-on-year gains in January/February, and retail sales saw consecutive expansions of over 33% for the first three months of the year. Overall, the Chinese economy expanded by 18.3% in Q1. Keeping in mind the low base of 2020, the numbers illustrated a V-shaped recovery in the world’s second-largest economy, one that advanced economies hope to duplicate themselves. However, the April data suggests that the post-COVID boom is losing steam. And it’s all happening sooner than policymakers would have hoped, particularly with regard to retail sales.