The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is still in the early phase of accelerating infection rates and, sadly, increasing death rates. Our thoughts are with all those affected by the virus. While much is still unknown, authorities have responded within China, across the globe and in international cooperation. Thus, we have faith that ultimately the outbreak will be contained.
As global investors, we apply a macroeconomic lens to our assessment. Although the nCoV outbreak will almost certainly knock China’s quarterly economic output, the medium- and long-term view could be much less negative.
One risk going into 2020 was the possibility that the Chinese government would reverse course and cut, if not eliminate, its stimulus programs. It is now highly unlikely that we will see a sudden stop to the monetary, fiscal and regulatory stimulus that has helped drive the Chinese recovery since mid-2019.
The importance of public health in China has materially raised the bar for the central, provincial and local governments to effectively manage the acute effects of the epidemic. While laws technically hold the local government accountable, President Xi and the central government exercise centralised power and we expect them to mobilise government resources to limit the economic fallout.