After called Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Chinese President Xi Jinping also have a phone-called with Malaysia' Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad on the coronavirus case - Photo by President Office

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – After called Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Chinese President Xi Jinping also have a phone-called with Malaysia’ Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad on the novel coronavirus case. In the phone conversation, he assured, that China will minimize the impact of the virus.

He said strict measures had been put in place to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus. He also urged both countries to maintain this year’ development goals.

Hubei province reported 4,823 new confirmed cases of the virus infection and 116 new deaths on Feb. 13, bringing the total confirmed cases in the hard-hit province to 51,986. The new confirmed cases included 3,095 clinically diagnosed cases and the new deaths included eight who were clinically diagnosed.

On the same day, the capital city of Wuhan reported 3,910 new infections and 88 new deaths. Chinese authorities stressed differentiated measures for different regions to fight the outbreak and demanded efforts to improve patient treatment and expedite research on drugs at a high-level meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

Rajiv Biswas, Asia Pacific Chief Economist at IHS Markit rated, the economic shockwaves from the coronavirus epidemic in China has increased the downside risks to Malaysia’ GDP growth outlook in 2020.

Malaysian economic growth momentum in first quarter (1Q) of 2020 could be negatively impacted by significantly weaker Chinese tourist visits as well as weaker new orders from China for manufactures and raw materials, due to significant disruption of Chinese industrial production during February.

In 4Q of 2019, Malaysian GDP growth slowed to a pace of 3.6 percent compared to previous year and lowered against the 3Q’ growth at 4.4 percent. Private consumption spending remained buoyant, helping to underpin growth, the main drag on growth was from continued contraction in public investment, which fell 7.7 percent in annual basis.

The overall pace of economic growth in 2019 remained resilient, growing 4.3 percent from a year ago, albeit a moderation from the 4.7 percent in 2018. The decline in public investment spending and continued softness in electronics exports weighed on the overall pace of growth in 2019.

The outlook for 2020 has become subject to greater downside risks due to the economic shock from the coronavirus outbreak in China, which has impacted on Chinese tourist visits to other Asian countries. Chinese tourism has become increasingly important for Malaysia’ tourism industry, with Chinese tourist visits to Malaysia having reached 2.9 million in 2018, or around 11 percent of total international tourist visits.

However, some rebound in Chinese tourism and factory orders is expected once the coronavirus epidemic is contained.

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