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All times below are in Beijing time.

2:54 pm: Chinese officials emphasize need to help businesses resume operations

More than half of China delayed the resumption of work after the Lunar New Year holiday by at least a week, in an effort to limit the spread of the virus. Many businesses are slowly restoring operations, but some have encountered challenges from local authorities.

On Tuesday, officials at a national level pushed back on those practices.

“We want to make it clear here, we will strictly stop oversimplified and crude methods such as requiring approval that prevent businesses from resuming work and production,” Ou Xiaoli, director-general of the social development department of the National Development and Reform Commission, said Tuesday at a press conference. That’s according to a CNBC translation of his Mandarin-language remarks.

In addition, Cong Liang, secretary general, of the commission’s leading party group, said that as of Monday, data from 22 key provinces showed the percentage of work resumed for various industries stands at:

  • Face mask companies: +76%
  • Protective suits: 77%
  • Major food producers and processing companies: 94.6%
  • Coal mines: 57.8% — Cheng

2:09 pm: IDC says virus outbreak could sink Q1 smartphone shipments in China

China’s smartphone shipments for the three months ending in March could decline by more than 30% from the same period a year ago, International Data Corporation said on Tuesday.

The outbreak affected the Lunar New Year’s shopping season in late January and is also expected to have adverse effects in the following months, IDC said in a statement, adding that it expects “China’s smartphone shipments to drop more than 30% year-on-year in 2020Q1.”

2:01 pm: Beijing scrambles to support Chinese economy as outbreak batters business

China’s movie theaters were ramping up for one of their biggest sales seasons of the year – hiring extra staff and buying more supplies — when the new coronavirus hit. Now most theaters have been closed for about two weeks, and it may be months before consumers have enough confidence to see the movies in theaters again.

One theater manager says it’s the biggest shutdown in 20 years – even SARS in 2003 didn’t have such a great impact.

Theater operators now have to negotiate with landlords over potentially tens of thousands of yuan a month in rent, and manage other costs without any income in the meantime.

It’s just one example of how businesses are getting hit by virus-related disruptions, and how the Chinese government is now rushing to announce policies to support the privately run, small businesses that contribute to more than half of economic growth. —Cheng

12:48 pm: Impact on Chinese gas demand will depend on severity and time taken to contain virus outbreak: Wood Mackenzie

Global energy research and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie said it estimated gas demand loss in China had reached 2 billion cubic meters (bcm) by the end of the first week of February. More than half of that loss was concentrated in the industrial sector, according to research director Robert Sims. Many factories had shut down production for an extended period after the Lunar New Year holidays as part of China’s efforts to stop the virus from spreading further.

Experts have agreed that there will be a significant economic impact on China as well as the rest of the world for at least the three-months that end in March. Sims said the impact on Chinese gas demand will depend on both the severity and length of time required to contain the outbreak.

“With a resumption in economic activity, although limited, we estimate a full-year gas demand reduction of between 6 bcm and 14 bcm in 2020,” he said in a report. Year-on-year growth rates are expected to also drop from the 8% outlook predicted prior to the outbreak.

12:31 pm: AIIB says is discussing longer-term infrastructure investments to tackle future epidemics

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, an Asia-centric multilateral development bank, said it is beginning discussions about medium to longer-term infrastructure investments to help prevent and control future epidemics.

“We are discussing with the Chinese authorities what is needed to strengthen the overall system once this crisis is over, (when) it’s (the) moment to step up and learn the lessons, ask what kind of investments can help in the future to prevent outbreaks, reduce the impact and help to contain them,” Joachim von Amsberg, vice president for policy and strategy at the Beijing-headquartered AIIB, told CNBC.

“We are talking about hospital infrastructure. We’re talking about laboratories. We’re talking about animal health,” von Amsberg added. — Tan

11:45 am: Singapore’s tourism board predicts 2020 visitor arrivals will drop by about 25% to 30%

The Singapore Tourism Board on Tuesday said tourism arrivals and receipts for the current calendar year in the city-state will take a “significant hit” due to the new coronavirus outbreak. Many countries, including Singapore, have imposed strict travel restrictions to contain the virus’ spread.

While arrivals from China — about 20% of international visitors to the country — will be particularly affected, the tourism board said other main markets are also expected to decline due to lower travel confidence globally.

For 2020, the STB said it expects visitor arrivals to fall by about 25 to 30%. STB Chief Executive Keith Tan said Singapore’s tourism sector is “facing its biggest challenge since SARS in 2003,” and noted that the country is now better prepared and more resilient.

10:51 am: Vietnam reports its 15th confirmed case — a 3-month-old baby

Vietnam’s health ministry on Tuesday reported a 15th confirmed case of the new coronavirus. It said the patient is a three-month-old baby residing in the Binh Xuyen District in Vinh Phuc province and was likely infected by her grandparent. She tested positive on Feb. 9, according to the ministry. Most of the reported confirmed cases of infection were from the same province. On Monday, the ministry said that a total of six patients had been cured and discharged.

10:10 am: China Premier Li chairs meeting on China’s response to the virus outbreak

China Premier Li Keqiang chaired a meeting on Monday of a national-level virus response group tasked with addressing the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak that has killed more than 1,000 people on the mainland. (see 8:17 am update)

The meeting emphasized that all sub-national governments and relevant departments must step up efforts to control the epidemic by working on early detection, reporting, quarantine and treatment of confirmed cases, according to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Other provinces should send more medical workers to Hubei, and local governments should increase their support for local production of protective suits and masks, the ministry said.

Close to 20,000 medical workers so far have been sent to Wuhan and other parts of Hubei province, according to a press release. The meeting called for lowering the case-fatality rate, increasing the sharing of scientific information and ensuring the supply of vegetables and other essential goods. — Cheng

10:02 am: Here’s how another coronavirus epidemic affected China’s economy nearly 20 years ago

Investors and analysts often look to the SARS epidemic in 2003 to gauge the potential impact the latest coronavirus outbreak will have on the world’s second-largest economy. SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, was also a strain of coronavirus that killed hundreds nearly 20 years ago. But, recently, the death toll related to the new disease surpassed that.

In 2003, the spread of SARS dragged down China’s growth from 11.1% year over year in the first quarter of the calendar year to 9.1% in the following three months, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China. The then-sixth largest economy in the world also saw slower growth in retail sales and industrial production, but expansion in its exports remained steady throughout 2003. — Lee

9:17 am: Thailand bans cruise passengers from disembarking

Thailand refused permission for passengers onboard the MS Westerdam cruise ship, belonging to Holland America Line, from disembarking, Reuters reported, citing the country’s health minister. Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said in a Facebook post, “I have issued orders. Permission to disembark refused,” according to the news wire.

On Monday, the cruise operator posted a travel advisory that the ship was sailing for Laem Chabang, Bangkok, Thailand where passengers would disembark on Thursday, Feb. 13. “The ship is not in quarantine and we have no reason to believe there are any cases of coronavirus on board despite media reports,” the company said in its travel advisory.

8:30 am: Australia’s Cochlear slashes guidance, says it expects a decline in Greater China sales due to coronavirus outbreak

Hearing implants maker Cochlear said Tuesday it is reducing its outlook for fiscal year 2020 due to the outbreak’s impact in the Greater China region, one of the main markets for the company. It slashed underlying net profit for the year from 290 million – 300 million Australian dollars (about $194 million-200 million) to A$270 million – 290 million.

Hospitals are “currently deferring surgeries, including cochlear implants, to limit the risk of infection from the coronavirus,” the company said in a filing with the Australian Securities Exchange. CEO Dig Howitt said the company’s guidance factors in a “significant decline in sales” for the China region in the second half. Australia’s fiscal year starts on Jul. 1 and ends next June. 30.

Cochlear said it assumed there will not be any “material disruption” to the supply chain, including importing components from China.

8:17 am: China reports additional 108 deaths and 2,478 confirmed new cases

China’s National Health Commission said there were 2,478 confirmed new cases in the mainland and 108 additional deaths, most of them in Hubei province. As of Monday night, the government said a total of 42,638 cases have been confirmed and 1,016 people have died in the country.

7:07 am: Hubei reports an additional 103 deaths

China’s Hubei province reported an additional 103 deaths and 2,097 new confirmed cases related to the deadly pneumonia-like coronavirus as of the end of Monday.

According to the Hubei Provincial Health Committee, 974 people have died in the province, with most of them in the city of Wuhan where the virus was first detected. There have been a total of 31,728 confirmed cases thus far in the province.

All times below are in Eastern time.

4:48 pm: Coronavirus is a ‘black swan’ for oil and energy markets

The coronavirus is a “true black swan” for the oil and energy market, and as crude prices continue to move lower the worst may not be over yet, Ned David Research said in a note to clients. Analyst Warren Pies noted that the outbreak has reduced Chinese demand for oil by 2 million to 3 million barrels per day, which means “the oil market is looking down the barrel at no demand growth for the calendar year, and outright demand contraction is now on the table.” — Stevens

4:40 pm: XPO Logistics watches for virus impact

XPO Logistics operates 8 million square feet of warehouse space in Asia, including more than 1 million square feet in China alone. However, CEO Bradley Jacobs said the coronavirus outbreak and travel restrictions haven’t dampened demand for logistics yet. “We have not seen a noticeable impact as of now,” Jacobs said, “We are watching it. Anything that slows down the global economy is not good for the transport and logistics industry.” — Holland

Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: China’s death toll exceeds 1,000, US GDP takes a hit

— CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng, Huileng Tan, Yen Nee Lee, Pippa Stevens and Frank Holland contributed to this report.



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