The eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou in Zhejiang province on Sunday closed roads and confined people to their homes to try and stop the spread of the virus. Wenzhou, an industrial port city, is 800km (500 miles) from Wuhan, where the health emergency began. It has a population of around three million.
Three officials in China’s Zhejiang province are reported to have been “penalised for their negligence of duty after failing to report seven infected cases” of coronavirus, Chinese state media is reporting.
One source of figures on the deaths and infections from the coronavirus that we have been referring to is from Johns Hopkins University in the US. Its tracker shows Chinese and global cases of infections and deaths, including visual representations of the virus. Below is a snapshot of what it’s showing now. The headline figures are:
- 17,318 confirmed cases globally
- 362 deaths globally (all in China except one in Philippines)
It’s worth noting that they separate out cases in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, whereas the Chinese Health Commission groups them in their figure all under China.
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China’s currency, the yuan, is also having a torrid time today. It has fallen back through the seven-to-the-dollar mark to trade at its lowest point since December.
The higher the number the weaker it is because, unlike with most other currencies, its movements tend to be expressed in yuan rather than the US dollar. For example, the Aussie dollar is usually quoted in US cents – today its standing at US66.9c.
Chinese commodities trading suspended
Trading in a whole range of commodities has been suspended in China after losses quickly exceeded the daily limit today.
The maximum level of losses, known as limit-down in trading parlance, was reached for iron ore, nickel, copper, eggs, palm oil, crude oil and other produce.
Here are some images from the state broadcaster CGTN from inside the new hospital built to take coronavirus patients in Wuhan.
Back to the markets. The Shenzhen composite is down 9.13% and the yuan has been fixed at its lowest point this year in onshore trade.
The Shenzhen market is smaller than the Shanghai one and is made up of smaller, more tech-based companies. It makes the Shenzhen index more like the US Nasdaq.
More bad new from China is that factory activity slowed in January, according to data in a closely watched survey released today.
The Caixin/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) eased to 51.1 from 51.5 in December, missing expectations but remaining above the 50-mark that separates growth from contraction for the sixth straight month. Analysts had expected a reading of 51.3.
Industrial profits also fell 6.3% on a year earlier to 588.39 billion yuan ($85.22 billion) in December, official data showed on Monday.
China’s acting ambassador to Israel apologised on Sunday after comparing the closure of several national borders to Chinese citizens amid fears of a new virus from China to the turning away of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust, the Associated Press reports.
Dai Yuming told reporters at an English-language press conference in Tel Aviv that the errors to limit or even ban entries of Chinese citizens reminded him of the old days, the old stories that happened in world war two, the Holocaust, the darkest days in human history.
The Chinese embassy in Israel later issued a statement saying there was no intention whatsoever to compare the Holocaust with the current situation and the efforts taken by the Israeli government to protect its citizens.
“We would like to apologise if someone understood our message the wrong way,” the embassy said.
While trading in Shanghai plunged on opening, Chinese state media is reporting that shares of Improve Medical, which make face masks, jumped 8.5%.
You can read more on the Chinese stock market’s fall from Martin Farrer here, who says the fall is the biggest daily drop for five years as traders rushed to sell amid continued fears about the impact on the global economy of the coronavirus epidemic.
The benchmark Shanghai composite index fell 8.7% at the opening on Monday on a wave of negative sentiment that has built up for 10 days during the long market shutdown for the lunar new year.
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Chinese shares plunge 8.7% at the opening
Stocks in Shanghai have fallen 8.7% at the opening.
The maximum allowed before trading is suspended for the day is 10%. So we could be in for a short day.
Deutsche Welle’s East Asia correspondent, William Yang, is reporting a Chinese ministry of environment statement that announced in order to prevent the virus from being spread via human excrement and waste water, they will monitor waste water from hospitals.