Asia Morning: Asia Smells A Rat

Jan 23 04:01 2020 Print This Article

With Chinese New Year starting tomorrow, bringing in the year of the rat, Asia clearly smells one with regional markets ignoring a positive overnight session on Wall Street and marking equities sharply lower today. The coronavirus outbreak in China is obviously the culprit. The fall-out of SARS in 2003 remains at the top of Asian investors’ minds.

News that China has effectively quarantined the entire city of Wuhan – a city of 11 million people and the source of the outbreak – has rattled markets regionally. The timing has been imperfect, to say the least, with hundreds of millions of people moving around China and Asia as a whole, returning home for Chinese New Year. Perfect conditions for a viral spread.

China, however, must be applauded for their proactive approach to controlling the coronavirus spread. China has been open in disseminating its nature, severity and spread. We have come a long way from SARS in 2003. The move lower in Asian markets, therefore, looks more precautionary than panic-driven.

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