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How the Coronavirus Epidemic Could Upend the Global Economy

Ian Bremmer, Ph.D
 

By Ian Bremmer (original source TIME)

“There are many ways to measure the costs of coronavirus. There have now been more than 24,000 officially reported cases, and nearly 500 people have died, but we’d be wise not to have much faith in these figures. A report from the Lancet estimated that as of Jan. 25 the true number of coronavirus cases in Hubei province, which includes the city of Wuhan, was not 761, as officially reported, but 75,815.

The impact on China’s economy will be considerable. Quarantine and internal border controls have been imposed, and local officials are now overcompensating in response to criticism from Beijing that they were slow to respond to the initial outbreak. Businesses and schools are likely to remain closed for weeks. Economic activity in many Chinese cities is sharply reduced.

There is also the mounting economic cost for the entire global economy. The outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 knocked one to two percentage points off China’s GDP that year, which then cost one-quarter to one-third of a percentage point in global growth, according to estimates. The larger number of infections from the coronavirus suggests the impact could be more severe this time for both China and the world. What happens in China matters more than ever for the rest of us. Its share of the global economy has surged from 8% in 2002 to 19% today, and it’s now the world’s second largest economy.”

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