China’s GDP growth this quarter will be 0%, according to top economist Ed Hyman

Finance

Edward ‘Ed’ Hyman, chairman of Evercore Partners Inc.

Christopher Goodney | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Evercore ISI Chairman Ed Hyman said he sees no economic growth in China in the first quarter due to the deadly coronavirus.

The market pullback Friday “is still a worry about the virus,” Hyman said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “Our team has GDP growth at zero for the first quarter … China is really slowing and that’s worrying people for sure.”

Hyman, who has been ranked the top economist in Institutional Investor’s annual poll for more than three decades, said the fast-spreading virus will not have much of an impact on the U.S. economy. 

“We are so solid,” Hyman said. “It’s not the virus, it’s the trade that matters. People are not going out. They are not shopping, and that’s what’s hurting particularly China.”

Amid a trade war with the U.S., China’s economy grew by 6.1% in 2019, its slowest pace since 1990.

Fears about the coronavirus disrupting the global economy roiled the financial markets last week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping more than 700 points. Stocks rebounded earlier this week, but the lingering concerns about the epidemic weighed on the market again Friday.

China’s National Health Commission on Friday confirmed 31,131 cases of the deadly pneumonia-like virus in the country, with 636 deaths.

Hyman believes the sell-off is a bit “overdone,” adding the U.S. economy actually accelerated during the SARS outbreak in 2003.

JP Morgan had lowered its China GDP growth forecast in the first quarter to just 1%, citing negative impact from the coronavirus.

“There is a significant risk of an unexpected re-acceleration of new coronavirus cases.” JP Morgan strategist Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou said in a note. He added the pace of new reported cases in China could gain steam once again as factories re-open and “more people come in contact with each other.”

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