Singapore’s tourism faces ‘significant hit’

Singapore’s tourism faces ‘significant hit’

This is a live blog. Please check back for updates.

All times below are in Beijing time.

11:45 am: Singapore’s tourism board predicts 2020 visitor arrivals will drop by about 25% to 30%

The Singapore Tourism Board on Tuesday said tourism arrivals and receipts for the current calendar year in the city-state will take a “significant hit” due to the new coronavirus outbreak. Many countries, including Singapore, have imposed strict travel restrictions to contain the virus’ spread.

While arrivals from China — about 20% of international visitors to the country — will be particularly affected, the tourism board said other main markets are also expected to decline due to lower travel confidence globally.

For 2020, the STB said it expects visitor arrivals to fall by about 25 to 30%. STB Chief Executive Keith Tan said Singapore’s tourism sector is “facing its biggest challenge since SARS in 2003,” and noted that the country is now better prepared and more resilient.

10:51 am: Vietnam reports its 15th confirmed case — a 3-month-old baby

Vietnam’s health ministry on Tuesday reported a 15th confirmed case of the new coronavirus. It said the patient is a three-month-old baby residing in the Binh Xuyen District in Vinh Phuc province and was likely infected by her grandparent. She tested positive on Feb. 9, according to the ministry. Most of the reported confirmed cases of infection were from the same province. On Monday, the ministry said that a total of six patients had been cured and discharged.

10:10 am: China Premier Li chairs meeting on China’s response to the virus outbreak

China Premier Li Keqiang chaired a meeting of the leading group tasked with responding to the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak that has killed more than 1,000 people on the mainland. (see 8:17 am update)

The meeting highlighted that all sub-national governments and relevant departments must step up efforts to control the epidemic by working on early detection, reporting, quarantine and treatment of confirmed cases, according to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The situation in Hubei province and the city of Wuhan should remain a top priority while local governments were instructed to deliver fiscal and financial support measures, the ministry said. Close to 20,000 medical workers so far have been sent to Wuhan and other localities in Hubei from around the country.

10:02 am: Here’s how another coronavirus epidemic affected China’s economy nearly 20 years ago

Investors and analysts often look to the SARS epidemic in 2003 to gauge the potential impact the latest coronavirus outbreak will have on the world’s second-largest economy. SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, was also a strain of coronavirus that killed hundreds nearly 20 years ago. But, recently, the death toll related to the new disease surpassed that.

In 2003, the spread of SARS dragged down China’s growth from 11.1% year over year in the first quarter of the calendar year to 9.1% in the following three months, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China. The then-sixth largest economy in the world also saw slower growth in retail sales and industrial production, but expansion in its exports remained steady throughout 2003. — Lee

9:17 am: Thailand bans cruise passengers from disembarking

Thailand refused permission for passengers onboard the MS Westerdam cruise ship, belonging to Holland America Line, from disembarking, Reuters reported, citing the country’s health minister. Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said in a Facebook post, “I have issued orders. Permission to disembark refused,” according to the news wire.

On Monday, the cruise operator posted a travel advisory that the ship was sailing for Laem Chabang, Bangkok, Thailand where passengers would disembark on Thursday, Feb. 13. “The ship is not in quarantine and we have no reason to believe there are any cases of coronavirus on board despite media reports,” the company said in its travel advisory.

8:30 am: Australia’s Cochlear slashes guidance, says it expects a decline in Greater China sales due to coronavirus outbreak

Hearing implants maker Cochlear said Tuesday it is reducing its outlook for fiscal year 2020 due to the outbreak’s impact in the Greater China region, one of the main markets for the company. It slashed underlying net profit for the year from 290 million – 300 million Australian dollars (about $194 million-200 million) to A$270 million – 290 million.

Hospitals are “currently deferring surgeries, including cochlear implants, to limit the risk of infection from the coronavirus,” the company said in a filing with the Australian Securities Exchange. CEO Dig Howitt said the company’s guidance factors in a “significant decline in sales” for the China region in the second half. Australia’s fiscal year starts on Jul. 1 and ends next June. 30.

Cochlear said it assumed there will not be any “material disruption” to the supply chain, including importing components from China.

8:17 am: China reports additional 108 deaths and 2,478 confirmed new cases

China’s National Health Commission said there were 2,478 confirmed new cases in the mainland and 108 additional deaths, most of them in Hubei province. As of Monday night, the government said a total of 42,638 cases have been confirmed and 1,016 people have died in the country.

7:07 am: Hubei reports an additional 103 deaths

China’s Hubei province reported an additional 103 deaths and 2,097 new confirmed cases related to the deadly pneumonia-like coronavirus as of the end of Monday.

According to the Hubei Provincial Health Committee, 974 people have died in the province, with most of them in the city of Wuhan where the virus was first detected. There have been a total of 31,728 confirmed cases thus far in the province.

All times below are in Eastern time.

4:48 pm: Coronavirus is a ‘black swan’ for oil and energy markets

The coronavirus is a “true black swan” for the oil and energy market, and as crude prices continue to move lower the worst may not be over yet, Ned David Research said in a note to clients. Analyst Warren Pies noted that the outbreak has reduced Chinese demand for oil by 2 million to 3 million barrels per day, which means “the oil market is looking down the barrel at no demand growth for the calendar year, and outright demand contraction is now on the table.” — Stevens

4:40 pm: XPO Logistics watches for virus impact

XPO Logistics operates 8 million square feet of warehouse space in Asia, including more than 1 million square feet in China alone. However, CEO Bradley Jacobs said the coronavirus outbreak and travel restrictions haven’t dampened demand for logistics yet. “We have not seen a noticeable impact as of now,” Jacobs said, “We are watching it. Anything that slows down the global economy is not good for the transport and logistics industry.” — Holland

Read CNBC’s coverage from the U.S. overnight: China’s death toll exceeds 1,000, US GDP takes a hit

— CNBC’s Yen Nee Lee, Pippa Stevens and Frank Holland contributed to this report.

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