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China shutdowns to impact economy: White House economist

By AFP

Added 24th February 2020 05:41 PM

With the death toll worldwide reaching 2,600, the official cautioned that other illnesses such as influenza are responsible for far more fatalities annually than the COVID-19 virus that originated in central China

China shutdowns to impact economy: White House economist

A man wearing a protective facemask, goggles and gloves to protect against the COVID-19 coronavirus walks in a deserted shopping mall, minutes after rush hour, in Beijing on February 24, 2020. - The novel coronavirus has spread to more than 25 countries since it emerged in December and is causing mounting alarm due to new outbreaks in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. (Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP)

With the death toll worldwide reaching 2,600, the official cautioned that other illnesses such as influenza are responsible for far more fatalities annually than the COVID-19 virus that originated in central China

COVID-19 VIRUS  US ECONOMY

The disruption caused by the virus outbreak in China will have an effect on the US economy, but the magnitude of the hit remains uncertain, a White House economist said Monday.

With the death toll worldwide reaching 2,600, the official cautioned that other illnesses such as influenza are responsible for far more fatalities annually than the COVID-19 virus that originated in central China.

Global stock markets were reeling Monday amid renewed fears about the spread of the virus, with Italy, Iran and South Korea emerging as new hotspots.

"The real threat, I think, is obviously the coronavirus. We don't know yet, but we're taking a wait and see approach," said Tomas Philipson, acting director of the White House Council of Economic Advisors.

"That doesn't mean that economic effects from all the shutdowns in China won't have any impact. They will," he told a conference of the National Association for Business Economics.

 ruce ylward head of the hina oint ission on 19 speaks at a press conference about the 19 coronavirus outbreak in eijing on ebruary 24 2020  he novel coronavirus has spread to more than 25 countries since it emerged in ecember and is causing mounting alarm due to new outbreaks in urope the iddle ast and sia hoto by    Bruce Aylward, head of the WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19 speaks at a press conference about the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, in Beijing on February 24, 2020. - The novel coronavirus has spread to more than 25 countries since it emerged in December and is causing mounting alarm due to new outbreaks in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. (Photo by MATTHEW KNIGHT / AFP)

 

With the outbreak showing little sign of easing, investors are increasingly concerned it could have a much longer-term impact on the world economy, but like Philipson, economists say it is too soon to calculate.

The International Monetary Fund has said the best case would be for a short, sharp decline in growth in China, followed by an equally sharp recovery.

Numerous companies, notably iPhone maker Apple, have warned that earnings will be hit from the shutdown of the supply chain out of China.

Philipson said the US economy remains resilient to health impacts, such as the 40,000 deaths from the flu in an average year.

 

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