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Coronavirus to pummel Australia’s economy

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

‘More significant than the bushfires’: Treasurer warns impact of infection

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has said the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak will be larger than Australia's recent bushfire season which claimed 34 lives and burnt more than 18 million hectares.

Speaking with the Prime Minister in Canberra, Mr Frydenberg said it was not yet clear how damaging the virus will be to Australia's bottom line.

"The message is very clear," said Mr Frydenberg.

"The impact will be more significant than the bushfires, and it plays out more broadly across the Australian economy."

Mr Frydenberg said the economic impacts of the coronavirus are largely outside of government control.

"The Australian economy has been facing a number of economic shocks that have been beyond our control," said Mr Frydenberg.

Surge in coronavirus cases raise chance of global pandemic

"The trade tensions between the United States and China, the ongoing drought, the fires, the flood and now the impact of the coronavirus.

"Here in Australia, the economic impacts have been significant, as the Prime Minister referred to, not just the tourism and education sectors, which together contribute around $16 billion to the Australian economy, but also agriculture, and the destruction to end-to-end supply chains."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also doubled down on Australia's protection against the coronavirus outbreak as the ASX continued to lose $50 billion in what investors are calling a "bloodbath".

Coronavirus stock

The PM said Australia was as "prepared as any country" but economically it was impossible to escape the global ramifications of the virus.

"This is not like a global financial crisis. This is a global health crisis," said Mr Morrison.

"This is affecting global supply chains. It's affecting the building industry, it's affecting the manufacturing industry, it's affecting our export industry. When planes aren't coming in, planes aren't going out.

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"The bellies of those planes reason taking Australian produce into those markets."

This morning the Australian stock market shed almost $50 billion worth of value as it opened as investors spook over concerns the coronavirus outbreak will bring commodities trading to a halt.

Yesterday the market lost $60 billion, marking its worst day in six months.

Globally more than $1.5 trillion was lost as investors poured capital into "safe haven" investments that would not be affected by virus concerns.

WHY ARE MARKETS FALLING?

* COVID-19 is spreading in South Korea, Iran, Italy and in numerous other countries

* It is difficult to quantify the impact on demand for goods, services and global growth given no one is sure how long it will last and if it can be cured

* There will be disruption to supply chains if countries close borders to contain outbreaks that could see global trade grind to a halt

* Markets at record highs, such as the Australian Securities Exchange, are down in line with other markets, like commodities, that have already dropped

WHAT IS THE IMPACT ON LOCAL SHARES?

* Since late January, a raft of Australian publicly listed companies have issued warnings the coronavirus will hurt their earnings in the short term

* Travel companies, education businesses, food stocks and oil and gas producers are among those whose revenue will be affected in the next few months

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-bigger-than-bushfires-for-australias-economy-treasurer-josh-frydenberg/d90be364-f284-45a9-a01f-d85534a4472e

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