Coronavirus impact on Chinese economy limited to first quarter: analysts



The impact of the novel coronavirus on China's economic growth is likely to be confined to the first quarter while rebound is expected after the outbreak is contained, analysts said.

China's economic growth could see a swift uptick in the second quarter if the virus is brought under control by February, said Feng Gangyong, an analyst with the securities investment advisory firm Guangzheng Hang Seng, noting that impact on annual growth is small.

The first quarter typically accounts for a smaller share of the whole-year growth because of the Spring Festival holiday that falls between January and February.

Analysts agree that blows to consumption, exports and investment due to epidemic control efforts such as reduced outdoor activities and an extended holiday break are manageable and short-lived.

January exports could post slower growth, but it's more likely due to the Lunar New Year falling earlier this year than usual, said Huang Wentao, an analyst with China Securities.

Manufacturing investment is expected to suffer a temporary headache in the first quarter, while property investment and infrastructure investment will be less affected, Huang said.

"China's economy will sputter toward stable growth with pent-up consumption and investment demand unleashed after the epidemic," said Pan Gongsheng, vice governor of the central bank.

While the scope of the economic fallout hinges upon how well the virus is contained, Lian Weiliang, deputy chief of the National Development and Reform Commission, said the country is capable of minimizing the impact.

Analysts stressed ramping up anti-cyclical adjustments to stabilize growth and inflation expectations, inject cash flow to the private sector and ensure steady employment.