Coronavirus: Global economy trembles as epidemic spreads
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    Coronavirus: Global economy trembles as epidemic spreads

    On Friday, 59 new patients were confirmed. © Belga

    The global death toll from the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) topped the 3,000 mark on Monday as the epidemic continued to lower economic growth, threatening countries with recession and raising fears of a worldwide economic crisis.

    The European Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said early this year that Italy, already reeling from weak growth in 2019, was looking recession in the face as a result of the impact of the virus, and Germany’s economy was also threatened.

    Breton assessed the losses for Europe’s tourism industry at about one billion euros per month.

    On Monday, the OECD reduced its growth forecast for 2020 from 2.9% to 2.4%, and warned of an even bleaker scenario if the epidemic were to worsen.

    Last week, global markets experienced their worst downturn since the 2008 financial crisis.

    The Tokyo Exchange bounced back by 0.95% on Monday as did the Chinese markets. However, the Milan exchange had lost 3% at the end of the morning on Monday, and, generally, European markets were in the red.

    Faced with the impact of the epidemic on global economic growth, finance ministers of the G7 and the Euro Group decided to meet by conference call this week to “coordinate their responses” according to French minister Bruno Le Maire.

    Le Maire said he expected the effects of the virus on the French economy to be more serious than earlier expected now that the epidemic is affecting many more countries, France included.

    France has registered 130 cases of Covid-19 infection and two deaths. The Louvre Museum was closed for the second consecutive day on Monday after staff invoked their right to stay off the job in the event of danger.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times