Coronavirus Is Costing Us Billions

File photo | Kristoffer Trolle, CC BY 2.0

Wall Street Journal – Oil prices slid into bear-market territory on Monday, highlighting investors’ growing concern that China’s deadly coronavirus will hurt the global economy by reducing demand for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel in an already well-supplied market.

The declines capped an eventful day in markets. President Xi Jinping of China delivered a speech Monday describing the outbreak as a major test of the country’s system of governance and vowing consequences for officials who shirk responsibility in tackling the crisis.

U.S. health authorities, meanwhile, reported a second case of the coronavirus being passed from one person to another in the country as they raised the number of the nation’s confirmed cases to 11.

The prospect of canceled flights, closed international borders, locked-down cities and idled factories in China, which is the world’s biggest oil importer, have rattled financial markets in recent sessions, sparking swings in stocks, bonds and commodities around the world.

Many investors remain braced for greater volatility ahead.

The magnitude of the concern is such that Saudi Arabia’s push for further production cuts among members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries failed to buoy oil prices on Monday.

Though prices briefly ticked higher after The Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia was advocating a short-term curtailment to combat declining demand related to the outbreak of the virus, they quickly resumed their fall … Read more. 

Carnival Shares Fall as Passenger Tests Positive (1:20 p.m. NY)

Carnival Corp.’s Princess Cruises said a recent passenger in Asia tested positive for coronavirus, prompting Japanese health officials to delay the ship he’d been on while they conduct a review of all guests and crew.

Princess said in an emailed statement Monday that the passenger embarked in Yokohama, Japan, on Jan. 20 and disembarked in Hong Kong on Jan. 25. The ship, Diamond Princess, then continued its round-trip journey to ultimately take other passengers back to Yokohama, which is near Tokyo.

On Saturday, the passenger, who was from Hong Kong, tested positive for coronavirus at a local hospital there, according to Princess.

The episode comes just days after a ship from Carnival’s Costa Crociere unit was put on lockdown at a port near Rome over concerns that passengers might have had coronavirus. Those passengers were eventually diagnosed with the flu.

Carnival shares fell as much as 3.3% to $42.10, the lowest intraday level since October.

Vaccine Could Take Year or More, Glaxo Says (12:32 p.m. NY)

Developing a vaccine against the coronavirus could take 12 to 18 months, Thomas Breuer, GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s chief medical officer for vaccines, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV Monday.

While technology could enable researchers to come up with new vaccine candidates within a few months, they will then have to undergo human safety and efficacy trials that may last about a year, Breuer said.

CDC Seeks Emergency Approval for Virus Test (11:58 a.m. NY)

U.S. health officials are seeking emergency approval to roll out a test for the coronavirus that can be used by hospitals and state health authorities, instead of having samples shipped to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for analysis.

The agency is preparing for the outbreak as if it will be a pandemic that spreads widely from China to other countries, including the U.S., said Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

The goal of public health officials is to slow the virus’s entry into the U.S., she said … Read more.