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Coronavirus: US case confirmed, China stocks fall

By Hazel Davis

Chinese stocks take a tumble as deadly virus spreads

Stocks in China have had their worst day in more than eight months as the deadly coronavirus spreads as far as the US.

The Shanghai Composite fell nearly 3.2 per cent on January 23 – its worse same-day drop since May 2019 when the US threatened new trade tariffs. The Hang Seng Index dipped nearly 2.2 per cent and the Nikkei dropped 1 per cent. However, shares in US biotech firm Nanoviricides rose more than 150 per cent on January 21.

The reported death toll on mainland China is 17, with more than 570 infected. There have been cases in Japan, Thailand and South Korea. One case has now been reported in Washington, US.

Officials have locked down the city of Wuhan, where the virus originated, asking people not to leave without specific reason. However, the weekend’s Lunar New Year celebrations means that many will want to travel around the country.

Analysts are warning that airlines, airport and railway stocks are likely to be severely impacted by travel bans. “The fallout of SARS in 2003 remains at the top of Asian investors’ minds,” Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at Oanda, told the Wall Street Journal.

The World Health Organisation, which has yet to declare a public emergency, will meet on January 23 to decide the next steps.

Meanwhile events to celebrate the Chinese new year in Beijing have been cancelled in a bid to contain the virus, Reuter reported.

FURTHER READING: What is coronavirus and what impact will it have?

FURTHER READING: What is the coronavirus and how could it affect stock markets?

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