Economic Affairs: Uncertain economic impact of the coronavirus

China's growth is likely to slow and supply chains are being hit. But no two pandemics are alike, so beware of making undue comparisons with past outbreaks

The coronavirus is a global public health emergency. How long will it be before it also becomes a global economic emergency? And how should investors react?

So far, global financial markets, except those in Asia, appear to show little concern - which is surprising. For, with the world's second-largest economy all but cut off from the world, the economic impact is already huge. Several multinationals have suspended operations in China, which is, in many cases, their largest market. Apple has shut its offices and stores and is scrambling to find new suppliers after Foxconn, which assembles many of its products, announced it will close its factories until at least the second week of this month.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 12, 2020, with the headline 'Uncertain economic impact of the coronavirus'. Subscribe