08 February 2020
The number of those infected with the novel coronavirus is in the tens of thousands. There are reports of a community level spread in a few countries.
As the extended Lunar New Year holiday draws to a close in China, the full political and economic impacts of the pandemic are beginning to be felt. On the first day of its opening since the outbreak, the Shanghai Composite Index dropped around 9 percentage points. Major disruptions to economic and social activities are having their impact felt on businesses in the region and beyond.
The political impact of the outbreak may be most pronounced within China. The crisis will be seen as a test on the Chinese government’s, and in particular, President Xi Jinping’s leadership. If the crisis escalates further and inflicts significant damage on an already slowing Chinese economy, it would make a dent on its citizens’ perceptions of the regime’s credibility and competence.
… According to the World Economic Forum, all major infectious outbreaks and pandemics in the past had extensive impact on the global economy. The 2003 SARS epidemic resulted in a loss of over $40 billion in productivity. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014 – 2016 sliced $53 billion from the global economy. The cost of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic was estimated at between $45-55 billion. Given China’s interconnectedness to the global economy, the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus is likely to have an even bigger impact on the global economy.
… Kalicharan is a Researcher at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He writes on the politics of South and Southeast Asia and on Asian security issues. Most recently, he analysed the tactics of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, after the group’s pledge of allegiance to the so-called Islamic State.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 10/02/2020