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Fitch Ratings: Global ports vulnerable to coronavirus-related volume declines

Early on Thursday morning in Asia, the global rating giant Fitch released a press note while saying that the Global ports will see reduced trade volumes as a result of the coronavirus, COVID-19, which would become more severe should Chinese production take time to recover to pre-epidemic levels.

Key quotes

Decreased production in China because of the extended work holiday and factory closures will affect import and export volumes in first-quarter 2020 but diversified revenue streams and long-term contracts help shield most US, EMEA and LATAM port revenues from significant trade volatility. However, some rated APAC ports will be affected if the slowdown in trade is prolonged.

US-China trade levels were expected to pick up somewhat with Phase One of the US-China trade deal set to go into effect on Feb. 15 but this rebound may take longer to take hold because of the virus-related production slowdown.

Throughput at other Indonesian ports will also be affected as China is the country's top trading partner. India, on the other hand, has less trade exposure to China than Indonesia, and Indian port operators are better placed to absorb a reduction in trade.

FX implications

While this has mostly been reckoned by the markets off-late, the news had a negligible impact on the markets with the risk-recovery on its way. The AUD/USD and USD/JPY, the barometers to trade sentiment, remain mildly positive around 0.6740 and 110.11 by the press time.

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