Markets fell in early Wednesday trading in Asia as investors digested a steady drip of worrying news about the economic ramifications of the global coronavirus outbreak.
Major indexes in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea were modestly lower midday, as financial markets settled into a slow grind of bad news. While the panic of recent weeks appeared to have subsided, numerous signs pointed to glum prospects for a quick recovery.
After Wall Street’s Tuesday close, President Trump said at a news conference that the United States would face “a very painful, very very painful two weeks.” U.S. government scientists projected that the outbreak could kill up to 240,000 Americans.
Futures markets predicted Europe and the United States would open lower later on Wednesday. Prices for long-term U.S. Treasury bonds, a traditional investment safe haven, rose, as did gold futures. Oil prices were mixed.
The mandatory lockdown in Wuhan, China — the city where the global coronavirus pandemic began — will be lifted starting on April 8, the government announced Tuesday. China barred people from leaving or entering Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, starting January 23 and expanded the order to most of the province in the days that followed.
While Wuhan itself still has two weeks of lockdown to go, some local operations are beginning to get back to business. Two car factories in the city started their production lines again on Monday, according to South China Morning Post.
New York (CNN Business)Asian markets and US stock futures fell on Monday as a massive stimulus package to help Americans handle the coronavirus pandemic hit a major stumbling block.Dow () futures fell more than 900 points, hitting a 5% decline that triggered a maximum allowable limit, or “limit down.” That halted futures from falling further.S&P 500 () and Nasdaq ( ) futures also fell around 5%, and were last sitting at 4.8% and 4.4%, respectively.Senate Democrats blocked movement on an economic stimulus package, citing ‘serious issues’ with the bill. That injected fresh uncertainty over whether and when lawmakers will reach a bipartisan deal to deliver relief amid the pandemic.
We’re going to face some extremely consequential decisions about how we choose to treat the Chinese government after their catastrophic secrecy.
As a country, we’ve got our hands full right now. But while we’re sitting in various forms of self-quarantine, we — and a lot of other people around the world — will have a lot of time to read about the Chinese government destroying samples and suppressing information about the coronavirus in December:
Chinese laboratories identified a mystery virus as a highly infectious new pathogen by late December last year, but they were ordered to stop tests, destroy samples and suppress the news, a Chinese media outlet has revealed.
A regional health official in Wuhan, centre of the outbreak, demanded the destruction of the lab samples that established the cause of unexplained viral pneumonia on January 1. China did not acknowledge there was human-to-human transmission until more than three weeks later.
The detailed revelations by Caixin Global, a respected independent publication, provide the clearest evidence yet of the scale of the cover-up in the crucial early weeks when the opportunity was lost to control the outbreak.
And the Chinese government’s attempt to silence doctors warning others about the disease:
As word of a mysterious virus mounted, Li Wenliang shared suspicions in a private chat with his fellow medical school graduates.
The doctor said that seven people seemed to have contracted SARS — the respiratory illness that spread from China to more than two dozen countries and left hundreds dead in the early 2000s. One patient was quarantined at his hospital in Wuhan, China, Li said. He urged people to be careful.
Li and seven other doctors were quickly summoned by Chinese authorities for propagating “rumors” about SARS-like cases in the area — but their warnings were prescient. Soon, health officials worldwide would be scrambling to combat a novel virus with a striking genetic resemblance to SARS.
And the Chinese authorities spending January “denying it could spread between humans — something doctors had known was happening since late December — and went ahead with a Chinese Lunar New Year banquet involving tens of thousands of families in Wuhan.” Doctors say that in Wuhan, people who had no connection to that Hua’nan market were among the first showing the symptoms — suggesting that from the beginning, Chinese authorities should have understood that human-to-human transmission was already happening.
Even by the Chinese government’s own account of events, President Xi Jinping knew about the disease for two weeks before making any public comments about it.
Seoul, South Korea (CNN)North Korea fired at least three unidentified projectiles Monday, according to US and South Korean officials.“Our military detected 3 unidentified projectiles fired this morning from the Sondok area in Hamgyong Province, North Korea, toward northeast, toward the East Sea,” the South Korea Defense Ministry said in a text to reporters.“Currently, our military is monitoring related movement in case of additional launch and is maintaining preparedness.”The East Sea is also known as the Sea of Japan.A US official told CNN that North Korea fired four unidentified projectiles.Two other US officials said the launch was not unexpected. One of the officials said “signs” had been observed but didn’t say what they were.“We are aware of a North Korean missile launch this morning into the East Sea, will continue to monitor the situation and are consulting closely with our South Korean and Japanese allies,” United States Forces Korea said in a statement.Two other US officials said the launch was not unexpected. One of the officials said “signs” had been observed but didn’t say what they were.“We are aware of a North Korean missile launch this morning into the East Sea, will continue to monitor the situation and are consulting closely with our South Korean and Japanese allies,” United States Forces Korea said in a statement.
(Reuters) – The U.S. government is considering whether to stop General Electric Co from continuing to supply engines for a new Chinese passenger jet, according to people familiar with the matter, casting uncertainty over China’s efforts to enter the civil aviation market.
One of the aircraft refueled at the base near Vacaville before heading to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego, where it arrived shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday. According to the U.S. Northern Command, the travelers are subject to a 14-day federal quarantine under orders from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At Miramar, space has been set aside at a bachelor quarters complex and a base inn to house the passengers, who include families with children.
According to Dr. Christopher Braden, a deputy director with the CDC deployed to handle repatriation flights from China, everyone on the planes was screened for symptoms of coronavirus before boarding in China. They will undergo the same screening process when they land at Miramar.
BEIJING (Reuters) – Infection from China’s coronavirus spread to more than 8,100 people globally on Thursday, surpassing the total from the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic in a fast-spreading health crisis forecast to deal a heavy blow to the world’s second-largest economy.
The vast majority of infections are in China where the virus originated in an illegal wildlife market in the city of Wuhan and has also claimed 170 lives, latest official data showed.
More than 100 cases have emerged in other countries, from Japan to the United States.
The World Health Organization (WHO), which has so far held off declaring the flu-like coronavirus a global emergency, began another meeting in Geneva to reconsider.
Such a declaration would trigger tighter containment and information-sharing guidelines, but may disappoint Beijing, which had expressed confidence in defeating the “devil” virus.
It could also further spook markets, already shuddering at the ripple effects of damage to China’s economy.
“The fear is that they (the WHO) might raise the alarm bells … so people are taking money off the table,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Melbourne brokerage Pepperstone.
The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome also came from China, killing about 800 people and costing the global economy an estimated $33 billion, or 0.1% of world GDP, in 2003.
Economists fear the impact on global growth could be bigger this time as China now accounts for a larger share of the world economy. One Chinese economist has forecast the crisis would lop a percentage point off China’s first-quarter growth.
Global stocks tumbled on Thursday, while the yuan hit its lowest this year, oil prices slid again and safe haven assets like gold gained.
The main stock index in Taiwan, 40% of whose exports go to neighboring China, closed down 5.75% on the first day of trade after the Lunar New Year holiday.
LOCKDOWN IN WUHAN
Almost all the deaths have been in Hubei province – of which Wuhan is the capital – where 60 million people are now living under virtual lockdown, only venturing outside with masks.
“Most of the shops are closed. We cannot go out and buy food,” Si Thu Tun, one of 60 students from Myanmar trapped in Wuhan, told online news outlet the Democratic Voice of Burma.
“Honestly, I have one big potato and three packs of instant noodles and some rice,” he said. Myanmar plans a special flight to get the students out within three days.
Australia, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand and Indonesia were quarantining evacuees for at least two weeks, though the United States and Japan planned shorter, voluntary isolation.
Three Japanese, from 206 evacuated on Wednesday, were infected, and worryingly two of them had not shown symptoms, Tokyo said. A second Japanese flight included nine people showing fever or coughing symptoms, broadcaster NHK said.
India was the latest nation to report a case, a student of Wuhan University. And South Koreans protested at facilities earmarked as quarantine centers, throwing eggs at a minister
“The weapons that will protect us from the new coronavirus are not fear and aversion, but trust and cooperation,” said South Korean President Moon Jae-in as Seoul prepared to evacuate the first of about 700 citizens from Wuhan.
An Italian cruise ship’s 6,000 passengers were kept on board while tests were held on two Chinese travelers.
The crisis has stoked a wave of anti-China sentiment around the globe, from shops barring tourists to online mockery.
‘WHEN CHINA SLOWS, WE FEEL IT’
In the corporate world, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Sweden’s IKEA were the latest big names to close China operations. South Korea’s Samsung Electronics extended holiday closure for some Chinese production facilities.
Airlines to suspend flights to mainland China include Lufthansa, Air Canada, American Airlines and British Airways. Air France cabin crew unions were demanding the same, sources said, though the company has already allowed pilots and crew to opt out of China flights.
Fuelling concern over damage to productivity, thousands of Chinese factory workers on Lunar New Year holidays may struggle to get back to work next week, due to travel restrictions.
Policymakers are anxious, with China dominating U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s news conference on Wednesday. “China’s economy is very important in the global economy now, and when China’s economy slows down we do feel that,” he said.
Streets in many Chinese cities were largely deserted and tourist attractions shut. Starbucks coffee shops were requiring temperature checks and masks.
Cases of human-to-human transmission outside China are of particular concern to medics, but it is too early to determine how lethal the coronavirus is, as there are likely to be many cases of milder infections going undetected.
It has an incubation time of between one and 14 days.
With local officials facing a backlash from China’s public, especially over their early response, the health chief of Huanggang city – also in Hubei province, with a population of 7.5 million – was dismissed, authorities said.
No explanation was given.
Reporting by Pei Li, Gabriel Crossley, Cate Cadell, Kevin Yao and Muyu Xu in Beijing; Samuel Shen and David Stanway in Shanghai; Josh Smith, Sangmi Cha and Joyce Lee in Seoul, Chang-Ran Kim in Tokyo and Se Young Lee; Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Kate Kelland in London; Crispian Balmer in Rome; Thu Thu Aung in Yangon; Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Nick Macfie
TOKYO — Asian shares skidded again Tuesday on deepening worries over the expanding outbreak of a new virus in China.
Markets in Hong Kong and mainland China were closed Tuesday for Lunar New Year holidays, while South Korea’s 180721, -3.09% benchmark tumbled 3.2% as it reopened after its own holidays.
China has extended its national holiday by three days so that offices should reopen on Monday. Shanghai’s holiday was extended until Feb. 9.
Overnight, a sell-off on Wall Street gave the Dow its first 5-day losing streak since early August and handed the S&P 500 its worst day since early October. The latest bout of selling on Wall Street came after China announced a sharp rise in cases of the virus.
“How long and how deep the correction lower will last, depends both on the success of China’s efforts to control the viral spread, and the prevalence of its occurrence internationally,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary.
Airlines, resorts and other companies that rely on travel and tourism suffered steep losses. Gold prices rose as did bonds as traders sought refuge in safer holdings.
“I am in the area where the coronavirus started,” her video begins. Wuhan is the epicenter of the outbreak.
“I’m here to tell the truth,” the anonymous nurse says in the video, which shows her wearing a full-head face mask.
“At this moment, Hubei province, including the Wuhan area, even China, 90,000 people have been infected by a coronavirus.”
She does not reveal how she arrived at the sobering statistic.
The video has been viewed on YouTube some two million times, the Daily Mail reported.
⚠️In her full protection gear, Dr. Jinnhui announced a grave warning to her friends and families⚠️
— Terrence Daniels (Captain Planet) (@Terrence_STR) January 25, 2020
Other horrifying videos have shown dead bodies covered in sheets lying in hospital hallways.
The deadly coronavirus has afflicted another person in the United States, health officials confirmed Friday, bringing the total number of U.S. cases to two as Chinese health officials scramble to contain the outbreak that has killed 26 people.
A Chicago woman returned Jan. 13 from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, and began experiencing symptoms a few days after arriving home, said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
The 60-year-old woman called her doctor after symptoms arose and she was admitted to a hospital and placed in isolation, health officials said. Further testing confirmed the virus.
An enormous sinkhole swallowed a bus and pedestrians in northwest China, sparking an explosion and killing nine people, state media said Tuesday.Footage showed people at a bus stop running from the collapsing road as the vehicle – jutting into the air – sank into the ground.Several people disappeared into the sinkhole as it spread, including what appeared to be a child. The incident also triggered an explosion inside the hole, video showed.Sinkholes are not unknown in China, where they are often blamed on construction works and the country’s rapid pace of development.The incident occurred at around 5:30 pm (0930 GMT) on Monday in Xining, the capital of Qinghai province, the state-run broadcaster CCTV said
Mr Kim also said his country would soon introduce “a new strategic weapon”.
But he left a door open for dialogue, and said the scope of any testing would depend on the US’s “attitude”.
The momentum of the past few years has stalled, as Washington refuses to lift sanctions until Pyongyang fully abandons its nuclear programme.
The North conducted several smaller weapons tests late in 2019, in what was seen as an attempt to pressure the US into making concessions.
But the self-declared moratorium on nuclear tests and tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that could reach the US mainland had been one of the foundations of the negotiations with Washington.
Pyongyang has not carried out such tests since 2017.
Economists warn that a prolonged trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies is elevating risks to the global economy by disrupting supply chains, curtailing investment and curbing business confidence.
Completion of a phase one deal could slide into next year, trade experts and people close to the White House have told Reuters, with Beijing asking for more extensive tariff rollbacks and Washington countering with increased demands of its own.
“We want to work for a ‘phase one’ agreement on the basis of mutual respect and equality,” Xi told representatives of an international forum, according to a pool report.
A stand-off at a Hong Kong university campus has led to fiery clashes overnight, as hundreds of protesters tried to repel a police advance.
Large fires broke out at entrances to the Polytechnic University (PolyU), where protesters hurled petrol bombs and shot arrows from behind barricades.
Officers earlier warned they could use live ammunition if protesters did not stop attacking them using such weapons.
Months of anti-government protests have caused turmoil in the city.
The latest violence is some of the worst the semi-autonomous Chinese territory has seen since the movement began.
The police have become targets for radical demonstrators, who accuse them of excessive force.
Demonstrators have been occupying the PolyU for days. Fresh clashes erupted on Sunday, with tear gas and water cannon being met with petrol bombs, bricks and other improvised weapons.
A police media liaison officer was wounded in the leg with an arrow on Sunday.
Some of the worst violence in 22 weeks of protest erupted in Hong Kong Saturday, as police responded with tear gas to activists throwing Molotov cocktails and setting fire to street barricades and a subway station.
“Some masked rioters vandalized shops and committed arson. Some even placed nails on the roads threatening the safety of all road users,” police said in a statement.
The protesters, angry at Chinese meddling with Hong Kong’s freedoms, threw the homemade bombs on the streets in front of the headquarters of HSBC and the Hong Kong base for the Bank of China. Protesters also smashed the windows of China’s local branch of the Xinhua news agency for the first time, the Associated Press reported.
The United States and North Korea have agreed to hold working-level talks this coming weekend, breaking almost an eight month long stalemate on a nuclear agreement between the two countries, according to a report by North Korea’s state news agency KCNA published Tuesday.
Talks between U.S. and North Korean officials stalled in February, when President Trump and Kim Jong Un walked away from their second summit in Vietnam without a deal. Kim wanted sanctions relief in exchange for partial disarmament. In the months since, North Korea has run several short-range missile tests. Trump has largely downplayed the tests, saying they haven’t violated any agreements.