(Bloomberg) — Beijing voiced anger as countries placed more restrictions on travelers from China to contain the coronavirus outbreak that has now claimed 565 lives. Technical experts from the OPEC+ group of oil producers recommended cutting output to offset the demand impact from the outbreak.
China’s top LNG buyer declared force majeure on contracts and Tesla temporarily closed its stores in the nation. Equities rose on China’s plans to cut tariffs on U.S. imports and optimism the global economy can withstand the impact of the virus.
Bloomberg is tracking the outbreak on the terminal and online.
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Estee Lauder Cuts Profit Outlook Again, Citing Coronavirus (7:03 a.m. NY)
Estee Lauder Cos. cut its earnings outlook for a second straight quarter, saying the coronavirus outbreak in China would crimp demand for luxury cosmetics. ArcelorMittal SA is also slowing steel production in the country after the Beijing extended national holidays due to the outbreak.
Chinese Government Calls for Return to Normal Production (6:36 a.m. NY)
A meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang said resources should be allocated rationally to avoid panic, according to CCTV. Coal, power, oil and gas supplies must be secured. Sixteen provinces will provide medical staff to Hubei.
OPEC+ Recommends Output Cut (6:46 p.m. HK)
The OPEC+ Joint Technical Committee recommended an output cut of 600,000 barrels a day to offset the demand impact of the coronavirus, a delegate said. The recommendation will still have to be discussed by OPEC+ ministers and the group hasn’t yet agreed on a date for an early meeting.
Melco Scraps Plans to Invest in Crown Resorts (6:45 p.m. HK)
Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited pulled out of a deal to invest in Australia’s Crown Resorts Limited, citing a “severe drop” in tourism to Asia and Macau’s decision to close casinos following the coronavirus outbreak.
Tesla Temporarily Closes China Stores, CNBC Says (6:22 p.m. HK)
Tesla has temporarily closed its stores in China as of Feb. 2, CNBC reported, citing a WeChat post from an unidentified company sales employee on that date. It wasn’t immediately clear if closures also applied to Hong Kong. The company had previously said it expects a delay in Model 3s built in Shanghai.
Tesla China didn’t respond to a Bloomberg request for comment and Tesla US declined to comment.
Separately, Nikkei Asian Review said Honda would extend Wuhan site closures until late February and that Toyota might prolong its production halt at Wuhan plants.
Hong Kong Banks Plan Temporary Relief Measures (6:03 p.m. HK)
Measures being considered include principal moratorium on residential and commercial mortgages, fee reductions on credit card borrowing and restructuring of repayment schedules for corporate loans.
Indonesia Eyes Empty Islands for Quarantine Hub (5:49 p.m. HK)
Indonesia plans to build a medical and rehabilitation center on an uninhabited island to isolate infectious disease victims. The country is yet to record a single case, but has quarantined 243 people on the island of Natuna after they were evacuated from China.
China Objects to Countries Imposing Travel Restrictions (5:39 p.m. HK)
Authorities in Beijing are growing increasingly angry and have registered “strong objections” with countries imposing harsh travel restrictions on visitors from China.
Nations are ignoring recommendations from the World Health Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization, which have advised against canceling flight routes and limiting travel to affected nations, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
Coronavirus Cluster Linked to Singapore Business Event (5:35 p.m. HK)
A Malaysian woman whose brother caught the coronavirus in Singapore also has the virus, widening a multinational cluster of cases linked to a meeting in the city-state.
The 40-year-old woman’s older brother was the first Malaysian to be diagnosed with the pneumonia-causing illness. He was among more than 100 people who had attended a business event at Singapore’s Grand Hyatt hotel.
GM China Car JV to Produce Millions of Face Masks (4:24 p.m. HK)
SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile, one of GM’s joint ventures in China, will start making face masks to help ease a shortage caused by the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
More Businesses Caution on Virus Impact (4:20 p.m. HK)
Volvo Car AB said two plants in China have not reopened and the shutdown would last a “few weeks,” Osram Licht AG also said some of its manufacturing facilities were temporarily shut, while Publicis Groupe SA said it was too soon to quantify the impact from the virus.
CNOOC Declares Force Majeure on LNG Contracts (3:10 p.m. HK)
China National Offshore Oil Corp. told some suppliers it won’t take delivery of liquefied natural gas cargoes, a rare step that shows how deeply the coronavirus is impacting global commodity flows.
It’s among the first reports of a so-called force majeure clause being invoked in the global commodity market after mounting speculation that Chinese buyers of everything from copper to LNG could be forced to take the step. Separately, the China Iron & Steel Association — the nation’s most influential mills’ group — said the situation this quarter that “does not look optimistic.”
Japan’s Abe Says Olympics Won’t Be Postponed (2:10 p.m. HK)
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament the Tokyo 2020 Olympics would not be canceled or postponed despite fears about the novel coronavirus. However, travel restrictions have already begun to affect some qualifying events.
China Car Sales May Fall Over 10%, LMC Says (12:48 p.m. HK)
China’s auto market, the world’s largest, may shrink 10% or more this year if the coronavirus outbreak persists through the third quarter, researcher LMC Automotive said.
That’s the worst of three scenarios outlined by the researcher and involves the virus undergoing further mutations and the epidemic not being contained until late in the year, LMC said in a note to clients. More likely would be for the outbreak to be under control by June, resulting in industry sales falling 3% to 5% in 2020, it said.
China Offers Incentives to Firms Helping Battle Virus (12:09 p.m. HK)
China is stepping up efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus with a series of relief measures for companies directly engaged in the fight against the disease.
The steps include reduction in value-added taxes and nudging banks to offer loans carrying interest rates of less than 1.6% for key enterprises that produce, sell or transport essential medical products and daily necessities, China’s State Council said on its website last night. Separately, the nation’s airlines will also be exempt from a civil aviation fund fee starting Jan. 1, it said.
Commodity Shippers Face ‘Crisis in Demand’ (11:27 a.m. HK)
The global commodity-shipping industry faces an extremely challenging quarter as the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in China adds to other headwinds including seasonally low demand and the impact of recent fuel-rule changes, according to IHS Markit.
The spreading health emergency in Asia’s top economy, the world’s largest importer of iron ore, has sent shock waves through raw material markets, and the companies that ferry goods across the world’s oceans. Freight rates have swooned amid gathering indications that demand for cargoes will slump.
There are signs of congestion building up at ports, and reports mills are cutting output, Rahul Kapoor, global head of commodity analytics and research for maritime and trade, told Bloomberg Television.
Want to Avoid Virus on a Plane? Wash Your Hands (9:37 a.m. HK)
Forget face masks and rubber gloves. The best way to avoid the coronavirus on a flight is frequent hand washing, according to a medical adviser to the world’s airlines.
The virus can’t survive long on seats or armrests, so physical contact with another person carries the greatest risk of infection on a flight, said David Powell, a physician and medical adviser to the International Air Transport Association. Masks and gloves do a better job of spreading bugs than stopping them, he said.
Read the full story here.
Vietnam Quarantines Ships From China Ports: VietnamPlus (9:24 a.m. HK)
Ships arriving at Vietnam’s northern Haiphong city port that have visited China in the last two weeks will be quarantined to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus, news website VietnamPlus reported.
The regulation went into effect Feb. 4, the report said, citing a regulation of the port authority under the Vietnam Maritime Administration.
Japan Finds 10 More Cases on Cruise Ship (8:35 a.m. HK)
Japan’s Health Ministry said it found an additional 10 cases of the novel coronavirus on a quarantined cruise ship off Yokohama. That would bring the total number of cases on the vessel to 20.
The Diamond Princess was placed under quarantine this week before it reached Japan and checks were conducted after a passenger from Hong Kong who had been on the ship tested positive for the virus.
More than 7,000 passengers and crew are being held in quarantine in Hong Kong and Japan as their cruises turned into confinement. In Hong Kong, the cruise ship World Dream, owned by Genting HK’s Dream Cruises, was quarantined after three travelers who disembarked in China were diagnosed with the coronavirus.
The new infections bring to 45 the number of people in Japan confirmed to have the disease.
(Adds Estee Lauder profit warning)
–With assistance from Linly Lin, Kyunghee Park, Chunying Zhang, Isabel Reynolds, Angus Whitley, Krystal Chia, Haidi Lun, Takashi Hirokawa and Abbas Al Lawati.
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stuart Wallace at [email protected], Chris Kay
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