The top state planning agency in China has sought to reassure markets about the potential impacts of the novel coronavirus on the country’s long-term economic prospects.
Lian Weiliang (连维良), vice-chair of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said that impact of the novel coronavirus on the Chinese economy was increasing, and having an especially adverse effect on consumption levels.
Lian made the remarks on 3 February at a press conference held by the State Council to address efforts to combat the coronavirus.
Lian highlighted the impact of the coronavirus on consumption in the transportation, culture and tourism, accommodation, food and beverage and audio-visual entertainment sectors.
While there have been marked decline in tourist travel levels during the Chinese New Year period, as well as box office, tourism and food and beverage revenues compared to the same period last year, China’s digital economy has been thriving, with online purchases, online food orders and online entertainment all performing strongly.
Lian said that the scale of the coronavirus’s impact on the Chinese economy would be determined by the progress and effectiveness of prevention and control measures.
“What must be stressed is that this type of impact is in stages and provisional,” said Lian. “[It] will not change the fundamental long-term improvement of the Chinese economy.
“A number of people have used the 2003 [SARS] disease to speculate on the impact of the [novel coronavirus] on the economy today, but at the present stage, China’s economic strength, material foundations and ability to deal with sudden contingencies have all strengthened markedly compared to that period.
“We fully possess the ability and confidence to win the war for the prevention and control of the disease, and also fully possess the confidence to minimise impacts on the economy.”