Investors flee to safety in wake of coronavirus

Investors flee to safety in wake of coronavirus

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World leaders are watching to see if there is an upswing in reported cases of coronavirus outside of China, with concerns the disease could spread through people travelling internationally.

World leaders are watching to see if there is an upswing in reported cases of coronavirus outside of China, with concerns the disease could spread through people travelling internationally.

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Investors have headed for safe havens such as gold and the US dollar in their droves due to fears about coronavirus spreading from China.

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NERVOUSNESS from investors across the globe about the threat of coronavirus has seen a general fall in agricultural commodity prices over the past week.

"Looking at the agricultural world what we have seen that if anything did not have a fundamental reason to push higher, they have dropped this week," said Commonwealth Bank commodity analyst Tobin Gorey.

There has been a classic exodus from investors to safe havens such as the US dollar and gold while commodities across the board have been markedly weaker.

The coronavirus, which has killed more than 100 people, primarily centred on Wuhan a city in the Chinese province of Hubei, has people worried it could develop into a fully-fledged pandemic.

Although at present it does not exhibit any more virulence than other viruses such as influenza there is currently no vaccine against the disease.

This week there have been increasing reports of cases of coronavirus outside China.

The fear of the unknown has weighed heavily on markets.

"We continue to be in a period of high uncertainty," Mr Gorey said.

"Markets do not know how this situation will evolve and thus the flighttosafety route has been chosen as the most prudent by many."

In terms of particular markets to be impacted, Mr Gorey said the coronavirus was impacting discretionary spending in China.

Sectors such as tourism and gambling have suffered some of the heaviest losses in the wake of increased publicity surrounding the virus.

"It is keeping Chinese people out of public places, they are spending less they are out less," Mr Gorey said.

In the agricultural sector he said the largest falls were in sectors ripe for a correction.

"Investors could have been a bit long in sugar so that is why that correction has been one of the sharpest, while in the wheat sector, where we have evolving fundamentals emerging surrounding crop condition there was not the fall we saw elsewhere."

Mr Gorey said the market was now playing a waiting game to assess how widespread the disease spread and for how long it had an influence.

"People are genuinely unsure of where this issue is going at present."

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