The coronavirus is hurting the global economy. Picture: iStock
The coronavirus is hurting the global economy. Picture: iStock

$36b wiped in share market bloodbath

There are rising fears the spread of the lethal coronavirus could damage global markets - and it's already having an impact Down Under.

The Australian Securities Exchange dropped by 1.7 per cent on opening this morning, representing a drop of more than $36 billion, while the All Ordinaries is also down by almost $40 billion.

Those losses are a direct result of global concern about the virus's spread, with US markets shedding more than 1 per cent already.

Overnight the Australian dollar also took a hit, buying 67.57 US cents at 7am this morning, down from 68.46 US cents at the market close on Friday before the Australia Day long weekend.

Companies with the heaviest losses so far are those with the strongest ties to the Chinese economy or reliance on Chinese tourism, including Webjet, Fortescue and Star Entertainment.

The only companies to record rises are in the gold and health sectors.

Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Friday up 2.5 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 7090.5 points, despite worry about the coronavirus. The broader All Ordinaries index closed up 4.2 points higher, or 0.06 per cent, at 7203.2.

IG Australia market analyst Kyle Rodda said experts had been bracing for the ASX200 to drop today.

"SPI Futures are suggesting that the index ought to shed roughly 80 points at the open as the market plays a bit of catch-up following the Australia Day holiday," he said.

"The move will come off the back of a subdued day's trade on Friday, which saw the ASX200 close practically flat.

The coronavirus is set to cause Australian shares to fall. Picture: iStock
The coronavirus is set to cause Australian shares to fall. Picture: iStock

"The materials sector was the laggard, tracking commodity prices lower. It lopped 14 points off the index, as traders re-evaluated the outlook for Chinese growth."

He said attention in global markets had become "transfixed" on the evolving outbreak of coronavirus throughout China and across the globe.

"Risk aversion continued to be fuelled yesterday as the reported number of cases of the virus in China climbed towards 3000, and the number of official fatalities leapt above 80," he said.

"China remains in a state of shutdown as authorities look to contain the viruses spread. "China's financial markets will not reopen, as it currently stands, until February 3rd."

The warning comes hot on the heels of research by PricewaterhouseCoopers that found Australia's GDP could drop by $2.3 billion over one year as a result of job loses and a decline in Chinese tourists and students visiting the country due to the outbreak.

PwC Australia chief economist Jeremy Thorpe said that economic impact was worsened by the financial effects of the recent drought and bushfires, describing the scenario as "bad news on top of bad news" in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.

"The small business sector, which makes up a large part of the tourism sector, and the universities are the most exposed from this going on," he told the publication.

- with wires


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