17 to 23 February: China sneezes and the world catches a cold

The coronavirus continues to dominate headlines. Although 21 Chinese provinces reported zero new coronavirus cases on the 22nd February, the number of new cases outside of China (such as South Korea, Italy, Iran, etc.) has been increasing. Italy has implemented a similar lockdown process to those used in China, mobilising the army to prevent movement in or out of the affected towns and stopping sporting and cultural events. The economic disruption brought about by the spread of the coronavirus could further dent global growth outlook – the severity and length being in the centre of the issue. To get a sense of the virus’ adverse impact on the macro environment, investors will most likely pay close attention to the official PMIs from China encapsulating economic confidence for February, industrial production data in South Korea, the South Korean central bank’s communique as well as foreign trade data in emerging Asian countries.

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