- Japan reports first virus death
- President Xi says China will minimize impact from virus
- Chinese leadership scapegoats local officials
- Death toll and case count soared last night: There are more than 60k cases worldwide, and more than 1300 deaths
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Update (0750ET): News out of China is presenting yet another lesson in contrasts.
In his latest remarks, President Xi said his government is striving to hit China's development targets, and that the government will "definitely be able to minimize impact from the virus," according to Chinese state media that has been relayed to English-language newswires.
He also pledged to maintain the development momentum of China's economy.
Meanwhile, over in Macau, the government of the beleaguered casino paradise is planning to hand out vouchers to residents allowing to buy food to try and help boost local consumption once the outbreak starts to subside, Bloomberg reports.
They can only be used at local restaurants and businesses over the next 3 months.The government is also planning to reduce some taxes and fees to help people recover (a rare example of fiscal stimulus directed at main street).
Here's a video report published on NHK's site (please excuse the excess text):
Notably, the woman's death had nothing to do with the 'Diamond Princess' - the cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama.
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Update (0650ET): After last night's 'undercounting' bombshell on the mainland, investors really needed to see some reassuring headlines about the coronavirus outbreak to push equity markets back into the green.
This is definitely not that.
Japan has confirmed its first coronavirus death, the third confirmed virus death outside mainland China, according to domestic broadcaster NHK. The other deaths occurred in the Philippines and Hong Kong.
The woman who died was in her 80s, and living in Kanagawa Prefecture, just outside Tokyo.
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Last night, we wrote the following in conclusion to our report on the dire numbers coming out of Hubei. Essentially, we predicted that President Xi was cranking up the Party's scapegoating machine and getting ready to blame the undercounting of coronavirus cases and deaths on local officials.
Who could have seen that coming? The stock market wanted so badly to believe the Chinese data... bonds and commodities knew better.
But of course, smart traders who were paying attention yesterday might have been able to deduce that something was up. Beijing dismissed some of the top health officials in Wuhan and Hubei earlier this week, and last week it administered administrative punishments to hundreds of lower-level bureaucrats.
They have already been set up to take the fall for President Xi and his inner circle.Let the scapegoating begin.
Earlier in the week, Chinese media and the South China Morning...