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Shares and Flu

At Market close on Friday 28 February 2020, the Australian sharemarket (All Ords Price Index) was down 9.5% from its recent peak. This is mainly attributed to coronavirus. Has it accounted for the near term effect of coronavirus? No one really knows. If you view the graph of the All Ords back to say 2007, you can observe a couple of things.

First observation is that the market appears to have just recently got ahead of the long term trend and any negative news was likely to cause a temporary drop.

Second observation is, when we had the most recent pandemic in 2009 (swine flu H1N1), the market charged ahead without flinching. But this coincided with the sharp recovery from the extreme bottom from the GFC.

What might we expect for coronavirus in Australia as the year unfolds? One thing we do know is that Australian flu season is some months away and 6 months delayed on Northern Hemisphere flu seasons. The H1N1 pandemic had a significant impact in Australia as is recorded in the NSW Health Department reports linked below.


The December 2009 report shows that from 1 May to 21 December 2009, presentations to emergency departments peaked mid July with on average 1300 presentations per week. There were 5224 cases with laboratory confirmed H1N1 influenza reported in NSW. Of these, 1298 patients with laboratory confirmed H1N1 influenza reported were admitted to NSW hospitals. There were 53 deaths in association with confirmed H1N1 influenza in NSW.

A demographic comment is that the World has 1 billion more people now than in 2009. Many of these extras are in Africa and we are yet to hear about southern hemisphere Africa in coronavirus bulletins.

Posted Monday, 2 March 2020

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