The WHO has gone from complacency to what appears to be abject panic:
“The coronavirus is “the worst enemy you can ever imagine” and poses a greater global threat than terrorism, the World Health Organisation has warned.
“Urging the world to “wake up” and be as aggressive as possible in tackling the outbreak, the UN health agency has given a new name to the disease that has sickened more than 44,600 people.
“It is now going to be officially known as COVID-19 – CO stands for corona, VI for virus, D for disease and 19 for the year it emerged.
“Chinese health officials have expressed hope that the outbreak will be over in April, but the head of the World Health Organisation was far less optimistic.
“Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned the first vaccine for COVID-19 was 18 months away, adding: “To be honest, a virus is more powerful in creating political, social and economic upheaval than any terrorist attack. It’s the worst enemy you can imagine.””
China must be nearing the point where the social and economic costs of trying to stamp out the coronavirus by totalitarian methods are greater than the trauma of letting it run. “
“A normal country would eventually conclude that the more rational course is to accept that the disease can no longer be contained…”
“The coronavirus outbreak in China has generated economic waves that are rocking global commodities markets and disrupting the supply networks that act as the backbone of the global economy.”
China is the world’s largest importer of copper and iron ores, accounting for approximately 50 percent of world demand for copper in 2019, according to World Bank data… Meanwhile, trade in iron ore could be affected in the medium term as the coronavirus prompts a long delay in construction activities…“
“Manufacturers with significant operations in China, such as phone maker Apple Inc and large global carmakers, are also warning of a decline in output and profits due to the extended closure of factories.”
“The U.S. Energy Information Administration on Tuesday cut its global oil demand growth forecast for this year by 310,000 barrels per day (bpd) as the coronavirus outbreak dents oil consumption in China, the world’s No. 2 economy.”
So far, the best barometer of the economic challenges facing China today is in the energy market…“
“A regional chief executive of a global commodity trading house confirmed to me on background that demand has plummeted by 3 million barrels a day and that other data touch points don’t look promising – internal bus traffic is down 87 percent, internal flight traffic cut nearly in half.”
Singapore has managed public anger against overcrowding in housing estates and trains by curbing the numbers of foreign-born workers and their families, who still account for nearly 40% of the total population.“Since elections in 2011,
“If the outbreak takes a turn for the worse, voters are likely to ask, “Why are so many foreigners taking our hospital beds?”“
“In Hong Kong, most of HSBC’s staff are working from home this week: insiders say the headquarters in central is an eerie place, where the few hardy souls willing to make it in – plus those unable to dodge critical meetings – rattle around like frozen peas in a can.”
Demand was already falling drastically in 2019 so perhaps curtailed supply is no bad thing!
“Fitch Solutions on Wednesday said it expects vehicle production in India to contract by 8.3 per cent in 2020 as the auto industry faces increasing risk of supply shortage due to China”s coronavirus outbreak, possibly hitting domestic output if the virus spreads in the country.”
Australian exporters heavily dependent on China are braced for the full impact of the coronavirus on Australian exports, from iron ore and LNG, to lobster and lamb, and bionic ear technology… “
“There are concerns Chinese importers of copper and gas could use force majeure clauses in their contracts that will allow them to suspend deliveries of the key commodities.”
Lebanon’s foreign minister has warned that his country faces becoming a failed state if the population doesn’t accept painful structural economic reforms… “
“Nassif Hitti said that he understood the frustrations of the people after months of protests across the country.”
The investors behind Air Italy, Qatar Airways and the Aga Khan, have announced the end of the airline, a two-year venture that was launched with much fanfare, colorful rebranding, and high hopes, but was unable to overcome the harsh realities of a complex market. “
“In Italy, it seems, only Alitalia can afford to fly bankrupt.”
The British economy failed to grow in the final three months of 2019 amid political uncertainty over Brexit and the snap general election.“
“The Office for National Statistics said growth in gross domestic product (GDP) flatlined between October and the end of December, as consumer spending slumped over the Christmas shopping period and manufacturing output nosedived…”
“With world output fragile, the risk of further slowdown in the first quarter is looking very real… if the coronavirus shows no signs of abating we should not discount the possibility of the kind of co-ordinated interest rate cut reserved for crisis.”
Investor money ensnared in alleged Ponzi schemes has hit its highest level in a decade, leading to concern that a booming stock market and de-regulatory agenda are pushing more fraudsters to bilk unsuspecting investors. “
“State and federal authorities uncovered 60 alleged Ponzi schemes last year with a total of $3.25 billion in investor funds…”
[US] Household debt surged in 2019, marking the biggest annual increase since just before the financial crisis, according to the New York Federal Reserve…“
““The data also show that transitions into delinquency among credit card borrowers have steadily risen since 2016, notably among younger borrowers,” Wilbert Van Der Klaauw, senior vice president at the New York Fed, said in a statement.”
Auto loan and lease balances have surged to a new record of $1.33 trillion… “
“…subprime loans (borrowers with a credit score below 620) are exploding at a breath-taking rate, and they’re driving up the overall delinquency rates to Financial Crisis levels.”
Central banks are experiencing a soul-searching moment as they look to strengthen their popularity after the global financial crisis — an exercise that could ultimately change how they operate…“
“Different analysts argue that central banks are conducting these public exercises to receive reassurances on what they do, at a time when many have doubts about the effectiveness of their policy tools.”