The Shanghai Composite index closed nearly 8% lower, its biggest daily drop for more than four years. Manufacturing, materials, and consumer goods companies were among the hardest hit, while healthcare shares soared. The fall came despite China’s central bank announcing new measures to ease the impact of the outbreak.
The coronovirus outbreak comes as China’s economy, which is the second largest in the world after the US, is slowing, following the trade war between Washington and Beijing. China saw economic growth of 6.1% last year – the weakest expansion in around three decades. A partial trade deal easing tensions was signed earlier this month, but most tariffs remain in place. The falling share prices in China come after global markets were rattled by the epidemic in recent days. Last week, Wall Street’s S&P 500 index notched up its worst week since October.