Fed sees coronavirus as risk to global growth, markets face ‘reckoning’

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The coverage on this live blog has ended — but for up-to-the-minute coverage on the coronavirus, visit the live blog from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific team.

All times below are in Eastern time.

  • Total confirmed cases: More than 75,200
  • Total deaths: At least 2,007

5:06 pm: Markets may face ‘pretty serious reckoning’ as coronavirus slows growth

The coronavirus may significantly weaken a global economy that was already in a precarious position, Yale University’s Stephen Roach told CNBC. “If the global economy is as weak as I think it is in the first half of this year, that points to a pretty serious reckoning for frothy financial markets,” the former Morgan Stanley Asia chairman said on “Closing Bell.” Investors have been trying to make sense of what the coronavirus means for businesses since late January. And yet, the market has only seen a few pullbacks in that stretch as the major U.S. stock indexes continue to set fresh highs. — Stankiewicz

4:23 pm: Goldman says market underestimating coronavirus risk: ‘Correction is looking much more probable’

Goldman Sachs sounded the alarm to clients about a possible correction in the stock market, noting investors are underestimating how big of a risk the coronavirus really is. “We believe the greater risk is that the impact of the coronavirus on earnings may well be underestimated in current stock prices, suggesting that the risks of a correction are high,” strategist Peter Oppenheimer wrote in a note. Oppenheimer thinks the market could be in trouble if earnings expectations aren’t ratcheted down. “Equity markets are looking increasingly exposed to near-term downward surprises to earnings growth,” said Oppenheimer. “While a sustained bear market does not look likely, a near-term correction is looking much more probable.” — Imbert

4 pm: G20 draft document shows coronavirus a risk to modest pickup in global growth

Financial leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies, the G20, expect a modest pickup of global growth this year and next, but see the coronavirus epidemic as a downside risk, a draft communique prepared for the meeting on Feb. 22 to 23 said. G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meet on Saturday and Sunday in Riyadh to discuss the global economy, as China grapples with a virus that has killed more than 2,000 people and forced drastic curbs on travel and commerce. “After signs of stabilisation at the end of 2019, global economic growth is expected to pick up modestly in 2020 and 2021,” the draft, seen by Reuters, said. “However, global economic growth remains slow and downside risks to the outlook persist, including those arising from the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak, geopolitical tensions and policy uncertainty,” said the draft, which may still be changed before the final version is adopted on Sunday. — Reuters

3:15 pm: Investor confidence is misplaced as market hits new highs

Investors’ confidence around the coronavirus may end up being misplaced, the former head of the International Monetary Fund’s China division told CNBC. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rose to fresh record highs, continuing a strong start to the year despite uncertainty around the virus. “It could be a short-term shock but one that ends up having a somewhat longer-term impact,” Eswar Prasad, now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and Cornell University professor, said on “Squawk on the Street.” Prasad said Wall Street believes China’s government will continue to take aggressive steps to prop up financial markets.Prasad said he agrees with that view on policy responses, but suggested action from the People’s Bank of China might not be enough to prevent negative economic impacts. — Stankiewicz

Members of a local neighborhood committee wear protective masks as they check the temperature of a resident entering at a barricade placed to control people entering and exiting a local hutong as part of government efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus on February 19, 2020 in Beijing, China.

Kevin Frayer | Getty Images

2:47 pm: Fed calls the coronavirus a ‘new risk to global growth outlook’

Although the coronavirus had just taken hold when the Federal Reserve met in January, officials already expressed concern about its potential economic impacts. “The threat of the coronavirus, in addition to its human toll, had emerged as a new risk to the global growth outlook, which participants agreed warranted close watching,” minutes released Wednesday from the Federal Open Market Committee’s Jan. 28-29 meeting said. Central bank policymakers said, for instance, that if the virus spread it could hit what appeared to be an improving growth picture in China. — Cox

2:41 pm: CDC issues travel guidelines for Hong Kong after second coronavirus-related death

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines on Wednesday for American travelers to Hong Kong after the city reported its second death from the new coronavirus. Travelers to Hong Kong should avoid contact with sick people, the CDC said, and regularly wash their hands. It is the CDC’s lowest-level travel warning, but it is the first coronavirus-related travel notice issued by the U.S. government for a territory beyond mainland China. — Feuer

2:19 pm: Tyson Foods sees business slow in China due to outbreak

Tyson Foods’ CEO said at a conference that the company has seen Chinese ports backed up as a result of the virus, slowing down the import of its U.S. meat products. Shares of the world’s second-largest meat processor fell 1% in afternoon trading on the comments. “There’s a definite need within the country to fulfill customer demand, to feed the people and we are continuing to ship product,” Tyson CEO Noel White said. In the next few years, Tyson expects to see higher demand as a result of African swine fever, which has hit China’s pork supply and global pork prices. Beijing lifted a years-long ban on importing U.S. poultry meat in November. — Lucas

1:53 pm: The market continues to take outbreak in stride

1:12 pm: Diamond Princess cruise passengers disembark quarantined ship in Japan

Hundreds of passengers trundled off a cruise ship in Japan after being held on board in quarantine for more than two weeks, as criticism mounted of Japan’s handling of the biggest coronavirus outbreak outside China. More than 620 passengers and crew became infected with the virus over the course of the quarantine, raising questions about whether it helped or hurt efforts to contain the outbreak. The Diamond Princess has been quarantined at a dock at Yokohama near Tokyo since Feb. 3, initially with 3,700 people aboard. Passengers who test negative and show no symptoms are free to leave. Around 500 were expected to disembark on Wednesday, with the rest of those eligible leaving over the next two days. Confirmed cases were to be sent to hospital, while those who shared cabins with infected passengers may still be kept on board. The United States flew more than 300 passengers to air bases in California and Texas this week. — Reuters

A bus leaves the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship at a port Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, in Yokohama, near Tokyo. The U.S. says Americans aboard a quarantined ship will be flown back home on a chartered flight Sunday, but that they will face another two-week quarantine.

Jae C. Hong | AP Photo

12:49 pm: Fed’s Kashkari warns US could feel economic impact from persistent outbreak

Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari warned the U.S. would likely feel economic effects if the coronavirus continues to plague Asian commerce. Speaking at a symposium in Mankato, Minnesota, Kashkari explained the impact to Asia could bleed into the U.S. if the outbreak persists. “China’s economy is a big engine of the world economy. So that will affect all of us,” he said. “It’s unlikely that if this continues that we’re going to be completely immune from the economic effects of a slowdown in Asia.” — Franck

People wearing face masks move packs of vegetables at a wholesale market for agricultural products, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, in Beijing, China February 19, 2020.

Tingshu Wang | Reuters

12:08 pm: China reportedly plans to take over HNA Group and sell its airline assets

China plans to take over HNA Group and sell off its airline assets, as the coronavirus outbreak hits the Chinese conglomerate’s ability to meet financial obligations, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The government of Hainan, the southern province where HNA is based, is in talks to take control of the conglomerate, the report said. HNA did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment on the Bloomberg report. — Higgins-Dunn

11:05 am: Iran reports two deaths

Two Iranians have died in the hospital after testing positive for the new coronavirus in the holy Shi’ite city of Qom, the head of the city’s University of Medical Sciences told Mehr news agency on Wednesday. “Two Iranians, who tested positive earlier today for new coronavirus, died of respiratory illness,” the official told Mehr. Iran’s health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur confirmed their death on Twitter. Iran confirmed earlier in the day its first two cases of the virus, government spokesman Ali Rabiei said, shortly after reports that preliminary tests on the two had come back positive.The health ministry said earlier that the patients had been put in isolation. — Reuters

10:04 am: IMF chief calls outbreak the ‘most pressing uncertainty’ for global economy

International Monetary Fund head Kristalina Georgieva said the COVID-19 outbreak is the “most pressing uncertainty” for the global economy. The new coronavirus has already slowed China’s economic growth for the year — just how much depends on how well world leaders can contain the fast-spreading outbreak, she said in a blog post. “There are a number of scenarios, depending on how quickly the spread of the virus is contained,” she said. If it’s contained quickly, she said, China’s overall 2020 GDP growth will be hurt, but just slightly and cross-border spillover would remain minimal. “However, a long-lasting and more severe outbreak would result in a sharper and more protracted growth slowdown in China. Its global impact would be amplified through more substantial supply chain disruptions and a more persistent drop in investor confidence, especially if the epidemic spreads beyond China.” — Feuer

9:15 am: Plugable Technologies warns the worst of its supply disruption won’t hit for months

The CEO and founder of Plugable Technologies, which sells USB, Bluetooth and power devices and partners with 15 factories in China, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” he is expecting the virus to disrupt his supply chain during March and April the most because securing any extra inventory will take at least two months to move through the supply chain. CEO Bernie Thompson said he has also had trouble with factories outside China since it only takes one part built in the country to disrupt the entire supply chain, especially in the electronics industry. — Higgins-Dunn

9:01 am: Virus hits small business owners who import products from China

As coronavirus spreads around the world, small business owners who import from China are on edge. CNBC spoke with Kyle Kirshner, who has been doing business in China for several years. He knew to stock up on supplies ahead of the Lunar New Year, but prolonged factory shutdowns threatened his business and that of others who import products from China. Kirshner owns Kyndley, which sells outdoor products via Amazon and imports 90% of its goods from China. He expects his supply will be impacted within a month if things don’t turn around. And if he doesn’t have product to list on Amazon, his rankings may drop and hurt sales. — Rogers

8 am: China expels three WSJ journalists

China has revoked the press credentials of three journalists from The Wall Street Journal after the newspaper declined to apologize for a column that called China the “real sick man of Asia,” China’s foreign ministry said. Spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily briefing that Beijing made several representations to the paper over the column, which China criticized as racist and denigrating its efforts to combat the coronavirus epidemic, but that the paper had failed to apologize or investigate those responsible. Deputy Bureau Chief Josh Chin and reporter Chao Deng, both U.S. nationals, as well as reporter Philip Wen, an Australian national, have been ordered to leave the country within five days, the WSJ reported. — Feuer

7:30 am: Adidas reports 85% drop in China business activity

German sportswear maker Adidas said business in China dropped by about 85% year on year as the coronavirus outbreak has resulted in store closures and fewer customers visiting the remaining outlets. Adidas said it had seen lower traffic, mainly in Japan and South Korea, but added that it had not yet registered any major business impact beyond Greater China. “As the situation keeps evolving on a daily basis, the magnitude of the overall impact on our business for the full-year 2020 cannot be quantified reliably at this point in time,” it said. — Reuters

A masked man guards at the entrance to a village as a measure to contain the COVID-19 spread in Zhangye in northwest China’s Gansu province Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020.

Barcroft Media | Getty Images

6:30 am: Iran says two people have tested positive for coronavirus

Iranian authorities reported two suspected cases of the coronavirus, according to the country’s semi-official ISNA news agency. A health ministry spokHesperson said both cases were in the city of Qom and the patients had been put into isolation. “The next stages of testing are underway and the final results of these tests will be released to the public once they have been determined,” Kiyanoush Jahanpour, a spokesperson at Iran’s health ministry, said in a statement, ISNA reported. Iran has not previously confirmed any cases of the coronavirus. — Meredith

5:40 am: Japan says 79 more people have tested positive for coronavirus on Diamond Princess cruise ship

Japan confirmed 79 new cases aboard the Diamond Princess cruise liner, taking the total number of on-board infections to 621. Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, citing the health ministry, said 68 of the 79 people with COVID-19 didn’t have any symptoms. Earlier, passengers and crew members on board the quarantined cruise ship, who were not taking government repatriation flights, started the process of disembarking. There may be more positive test results as people need certificates indicating they tested negative for the virus before they can leave. — Meredith

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Iran says two test positive for virus, death toll tops 2,000.

— Reuters and CNBC’s Fred Imbert, Kevin Stankiewicz, Thomas Franck, Amelia Lucas, Jeff Cox, Noah Higgins-Dunn, Kate Rogers and Sam Meredith contributed to this report.

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