*Coronavirus Toll As of February 24;
Number of Cases Worldwide: 79,361
Spread Outside China
The fear of epidemics grew globally on Monday, after sharp increases in new coronavirus cases reported over the weekend from Iran, Italy, and South Korea.
But the epicenter of the epidemic, China, has slowly begun to loosen the restrictions on transportation and work in many cities, including the capital Beijing, with new cases of the infection falling on a daily basis.
Fear in the Market
The increase in infections outside mainland China led investors to flee to safe havens such as gold and the US dollar. As gold saw 1689 with an increase of 2.5 percent, the crude oil fell to 51.36 with a 3.44 percent decrease.
The US dollar index (USDX) continued to reach for the level of 100, recouping losses on Friday as it hit 99.64.
In Japan, where there are the most cases following China, the market remained closed as the nation celebrates the Emperor’s Birthday on Monday.
As losses in Asian shares deepened, coronavirus incidents in Italy and the government’s quarantining at least two towns sent shockwaves across European assets.
The German Dax index lost more than 500 points at the opening.
Mnuchin on Trade
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said late Sunday that he did not expect the coronavirus outbreak to have a material impact on the Phase-1 US-China trade deal.
In an interview with Reuters at the sidelines of the G20 summit in Saudi Arabia, Mnuchin still said that could change as more data becomes available in the coming weeks.
On the Phase-2 trade talks with China, “if we get the right deal before the election, that’s great. If we get the right deal after the election, that’s great. We don’t feel any pressure one way or another,”, Mnuchin said referring to the US presidential election in November.