January 30, 2020 / 3:51 PM / in 24 days

IMF says too soon to quantify China's coronavirus economic impact

FILE PHOTO: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen outside the headquarters building in Washington, U.S., as IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde meets with Argentine Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday it is closely monitoring China’s coronavirus outbreak, but it is too soon to quantify the potential economic impact of the virus that is halting tourism and commerce throughout the country.

IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told a regular news briefing that the direct impact on consumer and business demand been most severe in Hubei Province, the outbreak’s epicenter, and the extent of the impact depends on how quickly the virus subsides.

Rice added that China has enough fiscal space to support its economy though the crisis if necessary and ensure that households and businesses have access to credit.

Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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