Market News & Headlines >> Mnuchin Urges Caution on Virus Impact

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Reuters News Service in an interview on Sunday that he does not expect the coronavirus outbreak to have a material impact on the phase-one U.S.-China trade deal, although that could change as more data becomes available in coming weeks. 

Mnuchin cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the impact of what he called a "human tragedy" on the global economy, or on companies' supply chain decisions, saying it was simply too soon to know. 

China was focused on the virus for now, he said, but Washington still expected Beijing to live up to its commitments to buy more U.S. products and services under the trade deal. "I don't expect that this will have any ramifications on phase-one. Based on everything that we know, and where the virus is now, I don't expect that it's going to be material," he said. 

Others, including USDA, have warned that Chinese purchases could be delayed by the coronavirus outbreak. "The current outlook for exports to China is tempered by significant uncertainties surrounding the Covid-19 outbreak, which may affect the timing of China's purchases under the Phase 1 agreement during the calendar year 2020," USDA said last Thursday in its quarterly Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade report.