Global stock and oil markets are expected to trade nervously this week even as investors hope for signs for the containment of the deadly coronavirus.
Fears about the global economic effects of the virus last week led to the price of oil tumbling to around $56.60 (€51) a barrel. Reflecting the concerns, the Bank of China over the weekend said it pumped in more than €19bn of liquidity into the banking system, while the White House said it was studying the effects of the virus on the US economy.
Meanwhile, Wenzhou, located about 700km from the first outbreak in Wuhan, quarantined nine million residents and became the first city outside central Hubei province to impose quarantine measures.
The two cities are known for their business ties. Families will be allowed to send one person out of the house every two days to shop for necessities.
The White House National Economic Council and the Council of Economic Advisers are conducting a preliminary assessment of the potential short-term and long-term effects of the outbreak, the Washington Post said.
The Sars virus outbreak 17 years ago led to many deaths in Asia, but the Chinese economy has become even more interconnected since then, making everything from car parts to iPhones for world consumers.
Apple said over the weekend it would shut all of its official stores and corporate offices in mainland China until February 9.
The company said it looked forward to re-opening stores “as soon as possible”.
Last week, Apple closed three stores in China due to concerns about the spread of the virus. It’s joining a handful of overseas retailers, including Starbucks and McDonald’s, to temporarily shut as a precautionary measure. Levi Strauss and Cadbury-owner Mondelez have warned of a financial hit from the outbreak.
Many other companies have called for employees in China to work from home and cease non-essential business travel in the first week of February.
Normally, businesses in China would be preparing to return to normal following the Lunar New Year Holiday.