Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers this week that the central bank is “closely monitoring” the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on China’s economy, and whether it reverberates to the U.S. and global market.
As of February 11, there were about 45,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,100 deaths globally, most within mainland China, according to the World Health Organization.
There were 13 confirmed cases in the U.S., with no reported fatalities. Hong Kong and Singapore had 49 and 45 reported cases, respectively, with one fatality in Hong Kong. A quarantined cruise ship, docked in Japan, has 135 confirmed cases on board.
While Chair Powell said it’s too early to tell the impact on U.S. and global markets, other economists are issuing projections.
“Assuming the virus remains limited essentially to China and there are no significant outbreaks elsewhere, we expect China and Hong Kong to suffer the greatest economic impact, with more-moderate negative effects on China’s regional trading partners and lesser impacts on most of Europe and the US,” wrote economists from Deutsche Bank in a recent research note.
Deutsche Bank projects the impact on China’s first quarter GDP will be 1.5 percent. Pre-coronavirus GDP was projected at 6.1 percent, and has since been revised to 4.6 percent.
Q1 U.S. GDP has been revised from 2 percent to 1.9 percent.
What slowing in economic activity that has occurred is expected to create pent-up demand that results in increased consumption and industrial output as the year progresses, thereby reducing the short-term impact.
That would require the virus’ containment.
“The working assumption underlying our regional analyses at this point is that with the spread of the virus in China having decelerated and actually begun to slow in recent days, the negative impact of the outbreak will peak this month. We also assume that major outbreaks outside of China will be avoided,” write the Deutsche Bank’s economists.
If those assumptions hold true, China’s 2020 GDP will be 5.8 percent, down from pre-coronavirus expectation of 6.1 percent.
In the U.S., 2020 GDP is expected to be 2.2 percent, down from 2.3 percent. Globally, growth is projected to be 3.1 percent, down from 3.3 percent.
Economists from Mercer also project the short-term economic impact will be recovered later in the year as the pandemic is contained.
“Our central view for global growth remains for a gradual pick-up to trend over 2020 but the impact of the virus is certainly going to detract from growth in the first half of the year at least. Under this scenario, some of the lost growth in the first half of the year is likely to be recovered in the second half,” according to a research paper from Mercer.
“Although the virus may lead to short-term and potentially even medium-term disruptions, we retain our view that global growth should return to trend levels over the course of the year,” the paper said.