Virus Death Toll Crosses 170, Asian Stocks Lowest in Seven Weeks

Asian markets plunged on Thursday as the death toll from the novel coronavirus spreading in China soared, and more instances had been reported around the world.

Federal Reserve Chairperson Jerome Powell acknowledged Wednesday the risks from any slowdown on this planet’s second-largest economy; however, he stated it was too early to say what the magnitude of the impact could be on the U.S.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan dropped 1.7% to a nearly seven-week low. It has fallen for six straight sessions.

Japan’s Nikkei fell by 2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng plunged 1.7% and has lost over 8% in the ten days since the global spread of the virus roiled markets.

Taiwan’s benchmark index jumped 4.9%, which, if sustained, would be its largest daily fall in over a year, in its first session since the Lunar New Year holidays. The Taiwan greenback plunged half a percentage point to its weakest this year.

Gains on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasuries, which dropped when costs rise, hit a three-month low of 1.5600%

China’s National Health Commission stated Thursday the total number of confirmed deaths from the coronavirus within the nation climbed to 170 as of late Wednesday, and the number of infected patients rose to 7,711.

Infections have been witnessed in at least 15 different nations and every region of mainland China. Sweden’s IKEA stated Thursday that it has briefly closed all its shops in China due to the epidemic of the novel coronavirus.

Most analysts have looked to the impact from the 2002-2003 spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which hammered tourism and confidence, albeit briefly.