Tokyo stocks fell further Monday, weighed down by unabated concerns over the new coronavirus epidemic.The 225-issue Nikkei average of the Tokyo Stock Exchange dropped 142.00 points, or 0.60 percent, to end at 23,685.98, after shedding 45.61 points Friday.
The Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan has confirmed 66 additional cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total number of infections to 136. It was not expected that additional cases would be reported involving individuals who were exposed prior to the start of the quarantine, Princess Cruises said Monday.
Ninety-seven people died from the coronavirus on Sunday, a new daily record since the new coronavirus was first detected in December, as the death toll rose to 908, China’s National Health Commission said on Monday.That new total surpasses the toll from the SARS epidemic of 2002-3, according to official data.
The number of confirmed infections in the country rose to 40,171 and 3,062 new cases were recorded in the preceding 24 hours, most of them in Hubei Province, the heart of the outbreak. A United States citizen died from the coronavirus in Wuhan, the provincial capital, American officials said on Saturday.
The stock market has become unstable as the coronavirus rages. In the U.S. stock market last weekend, investors moved to the seller side after the US Federal Reserve named the coronavirus pandemic fallout a potential economic risk in a parliamentary report.
And today, Britain has declared the coronavirus a serious and imminent threat to public health, shortly after it was confirmed that four patients in England had now tested positive for the virus. “The Secretary of State declares that the incidence or transmission of novel Coronavirus constitutes a serious and imminent threat to public health,” the U.K. health ministry said in a statement on Monday.
According to Bloomberg the impact of the spreading coronavirus risks bringing to life the worst-case economic scenarios contained in China’s annual banking stress tests. Last year’s exercise envisaged annual economic growth slowing to as low as 4.15% -- a scenario which showed that the bad loan ratio at the nation’s 30 biggest banks would rise five-fold. Analysts now say that the outbreak could send first-quarter growth to as little as 3.8%.
Banks are already suffering record loan defaults as the economy last year expanded at the slowest pace in three decades. The slump tore through the nation’s $41 trillion banking system, forcing the first bank seizure in two decades and bailouts of two other key lenders.
“The banking industry is taking a big hit,” said You Chun, a Shanghai-based analyst at National Institution for Finance & Development. “The outbreak has already damaged China’s most vibrant small businesses and if it prolongs, many firms will go under and be unable to repay their loans.”
Globalization has encouraged companies to build supply chains that cut across national borders, making economies much more interconnected. The major central banks have used up much of the ammunition they would typically deploy to fight economic downturns since the 2008 financial crisis, and global debt levels have never been higher. Rising nationalism may make it harder to coordinate a worldwide response, if that's required.