The economic and human cost of the coronavirus outbreak is escalating globally and not only in China.
See the international progression of the coronavirus on this interactive map by John Hopkins University.
The damage itself, to a large extent, is not due to the virus itself but rather to the prohibitive efforts to contain it. The lockdown, which now is extending to a new country each day is preventing business-related travel and the movement of goods and workers all over. Add fear of the virus itself on top of that, and you see people avoiding all activities that might make them exposed to infection.
The timing of the health crises has exposed the Chinese industry to additional commercial losses. The lunar New Year was on the 25th of January 2020, meaning that during the health crises production was already halted due to the new year holiday. Delays in resuming production and selling of goods have led to cash-flow issues locally and internationally.
Several international retailers have already shut-down their operations in China, Ikea the furniture giant and Starbucks are just a case in point. China is the chief supplier of global industries that include but not limited to, the motor and electronics sectors.
Just think of our everyday devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, and computers, most of them are made in china or at least some of their components are. Already the effect on the electronics industry can be felt at a consumer level.
Apple’s production is based in China, and already several of its products are running low on availability. A report by Bloomberg said that the iPad Pro tablet is already in limited availability (when bought online from Apple’s website) across the US, Europe, and Australia. Also at physical Apple stores, several of them have already run out of stock in central locations like Los Angelos and Newyork.
In Denmark, Europe many online consumer electronic suppliers have already placed a limit on the quantity of some products you can purchase due to the coronavirus outbreak.
A regional manager for one of the largest electronic suppliers in Denmark has also predicted an expected increase in the price of some of the goods and a shortage of others.
All these show a slump in supplies from China and inevitably an increase in electronic consumer goods prices globally, that is if the products are available. So is this the right time to buy a new TV or Phone. It depends on where you are in the world, and which product you are looking for. The certain aspect is that production in China has been halted and will take time to be back up to speed. Even then, with all the countries imposing strict travel restrictions and closing down of borders, supplies will be affected.
It is early to attempt to quantify economic effects accurately, however, many economists and strategist have. It all comes down to how China and the rest of the countries handle the situation. What most prediction have in common is that they are based on the “worst-case scenario” being avoided – hence a turn towards severe economic damage and shortage of supplies is still on the table.
Whatever the outcome is, at least here we are talking about consumer electronics, which many consider being a luxury and not a necessity. In any case, now is the time to make wise decisions and get your priorities straight.
Now is the time to take care of each other, and show solidarity and prove that together even the worst of crises can be overcome.