The Weekend Leader - Chinese shares suffer biggest fall amid NCoV outbreak

Chinese shares suffer biggest fall amid NCoV outbreak



Fears over the deadly coronavirus otbreak triggered a sharp fall in Chinese shares when the market reopened on Monday after the Lunar New Year holiday, with the Shanghai Composite index closed nearly 8 per cent lower, its biggest daily drop in more than four years.

The Shenzhen Component Index closed 8.45 per cent lower at 9,779.67 points on Monday, with losers outnumbering gainers by 1,438 to 53 on the Shanghai bourse and 2,086 to 99 in Shenzhen, reports Xinhua news agency.

Shares in the agriculture and real estate sectors led the losses.

Bucking the downward trend, stocks related to the medical industry led the gains, with more than 20 companies in the sector climbing by the daily limit of 10 per cent.

Judging by the historical performance of epidemic-hit stock markets, analysts believe that the impact is mainly about investor sentiment and expectation, which will become basically negligible in the long term.

Sectors including transport, retail and catering bear the brunt of the outbreak, but they were expected to see rapid recovery in one to three months once given the all-clear of the disease, said Lu Zhengwei, chief economist of Industrial Bank.

He said the new outbreak will be contained within a shorter period of time than the SARS epidemic in 2003, citing much faster and effective nationwide emergency response.

Given that the extension of the Spring Festival will remain effective in some areas until February 9, the Chinese stock market still reopened on Monday.

The country's authorities have rolled out a raft of measures to strengthen its financial support for epidemic control, with the battle against the novel coronavirus at a critical stage, according to a circular released on Saturday.

As more supportive policies to stabilize the stock market, market analysts expected the epidemic to only have a temporary impact on China's economy.

"We are fully confident in and capable of minimizing the epidemic's impact on the economy," said Lian Weiliang, deputy chief of the National Development and Reform Commission, at a press conference in Beijing.

Noting that some people compared the coronavirus outbreak with the 2003 SARS epidemic and made economic loss projections based on the SARS damage, Lian said: "China's current economic strength, resources and abilities to deal with emergencies have significantly strengthened since that time, and we are fully confident in and capable of winning the battle against the epidemic."

As of Monday, the toll due to the fast-spreading deadly coronavirus increased to 361, with 17,205 infected cases in China alone.IANS