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Cruise Heads to Cambodia; Germany Dangers Recession: Virus Replace

(Bloomberg) — President Xi Jinping said China would meet its economic goals while battling the coronavirus that has now claimed 1,115 lives. Economists are turning more pessimistic about the chances of a speedy recovery for China’s economy.

OPEC slashed its forecasts for global oil demand. A cruise ship, turned away by multiple countries, is now headed to Cambodia. The Chinese Grand Prix and the Hong Kong Sevens Rugby tournament will be postponed, while a mobile conference in Barcelona is close to being canceled.

Bloomberg is tracking the outbreak on the terminal and online.

Key Developments

China death toll at 1,113, up by 97Confirmed China cases at 44,653, up 2,015See a breakdown of virus cases hereJapan reports 39 more cases aboard cruise shipSingapore’s biggest bank DBS evacuates 300 workers

Mobile Conference Organizer Seeks Advice (8:10 a.m. NY)

The organizer of MWC Barcelona, the wireless industry’s top annual event, said it has implemented additional health measures and will continue to seek medical advice as it monitors the situation. “This includes regularly meeting with global and Spanish health experts as well as our partners to ensure the wellbeing of attendees,” the GSMA said in a statement.

The event is threatened by the withdrawal of some of the biggest telecom companies. The organizer could announce its cancellation as early as Wednesday, people familiar with the matter said earlier. MWC is due to run from Feb. 24 to Feb. 27, drawing around 100,000 people.

Germany Faces Recession Risk, Deutsche Bank Says (7:45 a.m. NY)

Germany could be on the verge of recession as the coronavirus outbreak exacerbates the nation’s industrial slump, according to Deutsche Bank.

The lender now expects a slight contraction in the fourth quarter, and it cast doubt on the prospect of any rebound at the start of 2020. German GDP figures are due to be published on Friday.

Chinese Grand Prix Postponed (7:17 a.m. NY)

The 2020 Chinese Grand Prix, scheduled for April 17-19, has been postponed as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak, organizers confirmed.

Formula 1 and the FIA will study potential alternative dates later in the year.

OPEC Slashes Oil Demand Forecast (7:05 a.m. NY)

OPEC cut forecasts for global oil demand as the coronavirus hits fuel use in China, leaving the group facing a renewed glut despite its recent production cuts.

The cartel reduced projections for demand growth in the first quarter by 440,000 barrels a day, or about a third, in its monthly report.

Cruise Ship Heads to Cambodia (6:50 a.m. NY)

The Westerdam luxury cruise liner is now sailing to Sihanoukville, Cambodia. It is due to arrive Feb. 13 and will remain in port for several days. Guests will be able to go ashore.

Earlier, Thailand said it would consider helping any sick person aboard but stood by its decision to bar entry, as the ordeal continued for the 2,257 passengers and crew looking to disembark.

The Westerdam, which is facing the risk of running low on food, has also been refused entry by Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines and Guam. Carnival Corp.’s Holland America Line, the operator of the ship, has said there’s no reason to believe there are any coronavirus cases on board.

Hong Kong Sevens to Be Postponed, TVB Says (6:21 a.m. NY)

The Hong Kong Sevens, an annual international rugby tournament that has been running since 1976, is set to be postponed, local broadcaster TVB reported. It was set to start in April.

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A formal announcement will be made this week.

JLR to Extend Shutdown of China Manufacturing: ET (6:20a.m. NY)

Tata Motors Ltd.‘s Jaguar Land Rover unit has told its vendor network that the shutdown of its manufacturing operations in China would be extended till Feb. 17, the Economic Times reported.

UOB Allocates S$3 Billion in Liquidity Relief (6:58 p.m. HK)

United Overseas Bank has allocated S$3 billion ($2.2 billion) of “relief assistance” to Singapore companies aimed at addressing near-term liquidity as the coronavirus impacts economic activity.

The bank is offering financing liquidity against mortgages, and will extend working capital financing of as much as S$5 million for as long as one year.

ECB’s Lane Sees ‘Pretty Serious’ Short-Term Hit (6:42 p.m. HK)

European Central Bank Chief Economist Philip Lane warned that the outbreak could have a “pretty serious short-term hit” to the economy as spending plans are postponed or canceled. He also foresees a bounceback though, with the full-year impact “relatively minor.”

It’s a tricky time for the euro zone. Figures on Wednesday showed industrial output slumped the most in almost four years in December, and a January recovery now looks in doubt.

Hong Kong Landlords Start to Slash Retail Rents (5:53 p.m. HK)

Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd., the city’s largest developer by market value, will reduce rents for February by 30% to as much as 50% for some of its mall tenants to help them ride out the impact from the virus. Wharf Real Estate Investment Co. announced a similar move for its Harbour City shopping center, Apple Daily reported.

Hong Kong’s usually booming property market has virtually ground to a halt. Just 13 homes were sold in the first three weekends after Chinese New Year at the city’s 10 largest housing estates, according to Centaline Property Agency Ltd. data.

China’s Battery Storage Capacity Could Drop (5:13 p.m.)

China’s battery storage production capacity may fall by as much as 10% to 237 gigawatt-hour this year compared with a pre-coronavirus forecast, Wood Mackenzie said in a note. Tight battery cell supply could slow down the cost decline of EV manufacturing and energy storage systems.

China Should Target Bigger Fiscal Deficit: Ex-Official (4:48 p.m. HK)

The country’s fiscal deficit should exceed usual 3% of GDP this year to help curb impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the economy, according to an article by Huang Qifan, a former legislator and official.

BMW to Reopen Chinese Factories Next Week (4:33 p.m. HK)

BMW plans to reopen its Chinese factories on Feb. 17. The carmaker said it was too early to know full effect of the virus.

Taiwan Cuts 2020 GDP Forecast (4:28 p.m. HK)

Taiwan lowered its estimate for full-year growth and officials said the coronavirus outbreak was set to diminish global trade this year. Gross domestic product will likely expand 2.37% this year, the statistics bureau said, compared to a previous government forecast of 2.72%.

Separately, Sweden’s Riksbank said the coronavirus would likely reduce global growth in the short term, but it was difficult to fully assess the economic consequences.

DBS Evacuates 300 Employees in Singapore (2:25 p.m. HK)

DBS Group Holdings Ltd. evacuated 300 employees from an office floor in the heart of Singapore’s financial district after one of its workers tested positive for the coronavirus.

Southeast Asia’s biggest bank has told the staff members on Level 43 at Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3 to work from home for the time being, the company said in a statement. The number of evacuees was given in a memo seen by Bloomberg earlier and confirmed by the bank.

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The coronavirus had already been detected in Singapore’s financial district earlier this week, prompting some companies to send workers home and temperature screening checkpoints to be set up at the entrances of several towers. A worker at an unnamed firm in Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1 was confirmed as being infected with the virus over the weekend.

Singapore last week raised its disease response level to the same grade used during the SARS epidemic, as it braced for what Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said was a “major test for our nation.” Singapore has at least 47 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Early Virus Data Existed Weeks Before Public Release (11:32 a.m. HK)

Preliminary genetic sequence data indicating the presence of a SARS-like virus in central China were known about two weeks before key information was publicly released, scientists said.

In a commentary piece published Tuesday in the Lancet medical journal, scientists, including members of the World Health Organization’s emergency committee, said insufficient attention was paid to information doctors had gathered about the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus.

Chinese Company Says It Can Make Gilead’s Virus Drug (11:18 a.m. HK)

A Chinese drugmaker said it has started mass-producing an experimental drug from Gilead Sciences Inc. that has the potential to fight the novel coronavirus, as China accelerates its effort to find a treatment for the widening outbreak.

Suzhou-based BrightGene Bio-Medical Technology Co. said it has developed the technology to synthesize the active pharmaceutical ingredients of remdesivir, Gilead’s drug that is a leading candidate to treat the highly-infectious virus that’s killed more than 1,000 people. The drug isn’t licensed or approved anywhere in the world yet.

While BrightGene said that it intends to license the drug from Gilead, its move to start manufacturing at this early stage is highly unusual and a potential infringement of the American company’s intellectual property. It comes a week after Chinese researchers filed an application to patent the drug to treat the new coronavirus.

Singapore Not Ruling Out More Stringent Measures (10:50 a.m. HK)

Singapore is not ruling out more stringent measures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak if the situation worsens, according to Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong.

Singapore is preparing a strong package in the upcoming budget to help companies and individuals manage the economic impacts of the virus, Wong said in a Bloomberg TV interview. Singapore can implement additional measures to contain the spread of the virus without raising the national response level to red, he said.

China Death Toll Rises to 1,113 (10:08 a.m. HK)

China said the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak rose to 1,113 as of Feb. 11, with 97 additional fatalities reported. Some 1,068 of those deaths have occurred in Hubei, the province at the center of the coronavirus outbreak.

Confirmed cases of the disease in mainland China rose to 44,653, according to a statement from the National Health Commission.

Hubei reported 1,638 additional cases, the lowest daily level this month. That’s an encouraging sign for health experts looking for when the outbreak peaks. Also, the number of suspected cases as of Feb. 11 was 16,067, down from 21,675 the previous day.

Two deaths have been reported outside mainland China, one in Hong Kong and the other in the Philippines.

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China Supports Merger of Airlines Amid Outbreak (10:01 a.m. HK)

China’s Civil Aviation Administration said it will support the restructuring of airlines to ease the impact from the coronavirus outbreak. The administration will also work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in urging some countries to continue international flights with China.

The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted flights to and from China, one of the world’s busiest travel markets, as airlines around the globe halt service.

Xi Vows China Will Meet Economic Goals, Defeat Virus (9:10 a.m. HK)

President Xi Jinping vowed that China would meet its economic and social development goals while winning the battle against the deadly coronavirus.

“We have the ability and confidence not only to defeat the epidemic, but also to accomplish the set goals and tasks for economic and social development,” he told Indonesian leader Joko Widodo in a phone call Tuesday, according to the official Xinhua news agency. “I believe China will be more prosperous after overcoming this epidemic.”

China Ag Purchases May Be Less Than Hoped: Official (8:42 a.m. HK)

China’s agricultural purchases from the U.S. under the first phase of a trade deal may not be as large as the Trump administration had hoped due to the coronavirus, said White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien.

“It could have an impact on how big, at least in this current year, the purchases are,” O’Brien said at an Atlantic Council event Tuesday in Washington. He also said American doctors are still not being let into China to deal with the outbreak.

Japan Reports 39 More Cases Aboard Cruise Ship (7:54 a.m. HK)

Japan’s Health Ministry confirmed an additional 39 cases of the novel coronavirus on a cruise ship in Yokohama, bringing the total number of infections from the quarantined vessel to 174.

Defense Minister Taro Kono tweeted that a quarantine officer from the health ministry also tested positive for the virus. Carnival Corp.’s Diamond Princess cruise ship has become the biggest center of infection of any place outside of China.

U.S. Raises Travel Advisory for Hong Kong (3:20 p.m. NY)

The U.S. State Department raised its travel advisory for Hong Kong to level 2, which means travelers should exercise increased caution.

“The Hong Kong government has reported cases of the novel coronavirus in its special administrative region, has upgraded its response level to emergency, its highest response level, and is taking other steps to manage the novel coronavirus outbreak,” the department said.

Last month, the U.S. raised the advisory for mainland China to level 4, the highest designation, which means do not travel.

–With assistance from K. Oanh Ha, Li Liu, Josh Wingrove, Emi Nobuhiro, Michael Heath, Karen Leigh, Dong Lyu, James Mayger, Sam Kim, Jon Herskovitz, Chanyaporn Chanjaroen, Paul Gordon, Morwenna Coniam, Kati Pohjanpalo and John Martens.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Michelle Fay Cortez in Minneapolis at mcortez@bloomberg.net;Isabel Reynolds in Tokyo at ireynolds1@bloomberg.net;Jason Gale in Melbourne at j.gale@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rachel Chang at wchang98@bloomberg.net, ;Adveith Nair at anair29@bloomberg.net, Jeff Sutherland

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