The Wuhan coronavirus took its largest one day toll Saturday, in China’s Hubei province, recording 81 deaths bringing the total number for the province to 780. That includes one American man. Hubei’s health commission announced that Wuhan virus has killed more people than SARS did in 2002/2003. SARS took the lives of 774 people. Source

Another 2,147 cases have been diagnosed in Hubei bringing their total number to 27,100. Although the Chinese government has been trying to downplay the severity of the virus, citizens have taken to the internet to inform the world outside of China. Seemingly leaving the health commission with little choice other than to disclose the true numbers.

For Beijing and President Xi, Wuhan coronavirus could not have come at a more inopportune time. China is already dealing with Hong Kong which wants its freedom from China. Controversy over the Ughar containment camps, major investments in Africa, and a trade deal with President Trump. The SARS epidemic cost China $40 billion in lost GDP. Road, air, water and rail travel has been suspended both in and out of Wuhan along with 15 more cities in the region. On its own Wuhan is a major industrial, manufacturing, and transportation hub, as well as being known for its scientific research. The timing and location could not have been worse for China.

The global connection of Wuhan is why concerns are rising. An estimated 5 million people traveled from Wuhan before the quarantine took place in January, even though the outbreak began in December 2018. These travelers do not include the estimated 400 million that traveled for the Lunar New Year in China.

On Monday China’s stock market opened to a wave of sell orders. Of the nearly 4,000 companies on the Chinese stock market only 162 didn’t record losses. Health-care stocks made for the majority of gainers as investors see the virus as being beneficial to their stock prices. The yuan was also hit hard as it “weakened past a key level against the dollar”. In all, on Monday China’s stock market dropped 8%. (China Markets Selloff)

Apple Inc. announced closure of its stores and corporate offices in China which employ 10,000 people, through February 8. But with the weekend rise in fatalities and cases that could change. Also affecting Apple are work stoppages by manufacturers that produce components for Apple products. What we are witnessing is the dynamic fragility of a global economy.

A number of American brands including Levi Straus & Co. which opened its largest store in in Wuhan in October, McDonalds and Starbucks have closed thousands of locations. With travel restrictions leaving the shipping industry in a state of uncertainty, as well as consumer demand being down globally, crude oil has taken a 16% fall from the day the Chinese government announced the spread of the virus.

As oil slipped for a fifth straight week OPEC members met to discuss a reduction in crude output. Only to be thwarted when Russia resisted Saudi Arabia’s push to pullback supply. JP Morgan Chase & Co. is a perfect example of the toll Wuhan coronavirus is having on American oil companies. JP Morgan Chase shows a first quarter projection of 500,000 barrels per day. Down from 1.15 million barrels per day. OPEC Meeting

Currently the virus has been detected in more than two dozen countries with 31,000 cases diagnosed globally. Bringing an end to the virus is in President Xi’s best interest or his leadership could become threatened. In a communist country that ensures the well being of its people, any lapse in the ability to control the outbreak can be seen as weakness. President Xi is already seeing an amount of public outrage that he hasn’t seen since he took office in 2012.

It is obvious that this new strain of coronavirus will have severe ramifications across the globe affecting health and economies.

James Cheef