While importers and traders have stockpiled goods in expectation of the Chinese Lunar New Year, shelves are starting to empty now. “If the situation does not improve by March, our cash cycle will be disturbed and a liquidity crunch created. However, we expect things to normalise by June-July,” said one trader.
Already, there is a shortage of 200 essential products in the market, says Dr Sheikh Kaiser Waheed, ex-chairman of Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association.
Given how big a player China is, the virus could cost $1.1 trillion in lost output, decreasing global growth by 1.3 per cent this year. However, this is the worst-case scenario if the epidemic turns into a pandemic, spreading to regions outside of Asia. Meanwhile, a host of effects are felt here:
Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, February 24th, 2020