Investors selling on heightened coronavirus fears
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday that the deadly coronavirus may hurt the Chinese economy and push jobs back to the U.S.
“I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America. Some to U.S. Probably some to Mexico as well,” Ross said during an interview on Fox Business Network when asked about the economic effects of the virus in China.
“Well, first of all, every American’s heart has to go out to the victims of the coronavirus,” Ross said. “I don’t want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease. But the fact is, it does give businesses yet another thing to consider when they go through their review of their supply chain, on top of all the other things.”
The death toll from the coronavirus has risen to 170 and more than 7,700 people have been infected in China. Countries across the world -- including the U.S., where there are five confirmed cases -- have taken steps to stop the illness from infecting its citizens.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday named a dozen people to serve on a newly formed coronavirus task force, including Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and the heads of the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health. Ross is not a member of the task force.
The rapid global spread of the illness has posed threats to the economy. Asian and European stocks have tumbled and U.S. futures have slumped amid fears the virus is disrupting the world’s second-largest economy and tamping down consumer activity.