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“Fears about the spread of the so-called coronavirus in China weighed on financial markets this week,” note Danske Bank analysts. “In particular, Chinese stocks and currency took a big hit. US and German bond yields also declined and both oil and metal prices pushed lower.”

Key quotes

“The count of people infected with the virus continued to rise over the week, from 440 on Monday to 869 on Friday. The number of people who have died from the disease increased from five on Monday to 26 on Friday.”

“The virus is similar to the SARS virus in 2003, which infected 8,000 people across Asia and some other countries and resulted in the death of 770 people before the disease was contained after three to four months. China has acted faster this time and is co-operating with the World Health Organisation but it is still unclear how much it could spread.”

“A concern is the Chinese New Year holiday, which starts today, as it normally involves hundreds of millions of people travelling to their hometowns to celebrate the New Year with their families. We probably will not know how serious the spread of the virus is until we get to the other side of the New Year.”