Asian shares down: Coronavirus fatalities exceeded the SARS epidemic

On Monday, Asian shares suffers as the death toll from a coronavirus outbreak exceeded the SARS epidemic of two decades ago, although the Chinese shares gained as authorities had lifted some work and travel restrictions, that is boosting the businesses to resume operations.

The pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures, German DAX futures and FTSE futures all slipped 0.1% in early European trades, while the U.S. stock futures were more upbeat with e-minis for S&P 500 adding 0.2%.

There have been more than 900 fatalities so far in China’s central Hubei province as of Sunday, February 9, 2020. And most of the new deaths in the provincial capital of Wuhan, which is the epicenter of the outbreak.

China’s government had ordered the lockdowns, to contain the spread, and also canceled flights and shut the schools in many cities. But on Monday the workers started trickling back to offices, and factories, although a large number of workplaces still remain closed and many white-collar workers will continue to work from home.

The Japan’s Nikkei index was off 0.6% and South Korea’s KOSPI was 0.5% weaker while the Australia’s benchmark index eased a shade. So the MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, outside Japan reversed some of its early losses but was still down 0.4%.

The China’s indexes were the only ones in black in Asia, with the blue-chip index adding 0.5% and the Shanghai’s SSE Composite moves up 0.3%.

The more damage has done with the coronavirus outbreak, as it has killed more people than SARS epidemic did globally in year 2002 and 2003. It also spread to at least 27 countries and territories, and also infected more than 330 people overseas.

 

An analyst at stockbroker Argonaut, James McGlew said,

“The markets have turned around a bit, and it is showing that Chinese businesses were returning to work,”

 

Overall, he thought that there is still a concern out there that the impact from the coronavirus hasn’t been fully quantified.

The news of easing of the restrictions seems to be more of a symbolic gesture despite the government actually being on top of the situation, with this virus, he said.