Hong Kong/Shanghai, March 12 (Reuters) - China stocks tumbled along with global markets on Thursday as worries deepened over the economic impact of the coronavirus after the U.S. suspended travel from Europe, although losses were not as heavy as in other Asian counterparts.
** The blue-chip CSI300 index closed 1.9% lower to 3,950.91, while the Shanghai Composite Index ended down 1.5% at 2,923.49. Both indexes closed at their lowest levels since Feb. 28 — a near two-week low.
** U.S. President Donald Trump announced a temporary ban on travel to Europe, excluding the United Kingdom, to contain the spread of the virus that has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
** Trump announced other steps to support U.S. businesses and promote growth but some investors were unconvinced the global economy can quickly recover as worries grow that the number of infections could rapidly snowball globally.
** “Markets are very nervous as this is a real black swan event. We are potentially looking at a global recession,” said Carlos Casanova, Asia Pacific economist at Coface.
** In China, where the outbreak started, new cases in the epicentre Hubei province fell to single digits for the first time. Overall, there were 15 new cases in mainland China.
** Losses in Chinese shares were limited compared with the broadest gauge of Asia ex-Japan equities, which fell 4.7%.
** Rob Mumford, investment manager for emerging markets equities at GAM Investments, said despite short-term volatility, Beijing’s “comprehensive” response to the epidemic will help anchor the local market in longer run.
** “We see attractive opportunities across consumer discretionary, technology, non-bank financials, renewables and healthcare,” he wrote in a note on Thursday.
** China’s local governments must do their utmost to ensure that people return to work as soon as possible, and any further delay could have a bigger negative impact than the coronavirus itself, the official China Daily said in an editorial.
** At 0707 GMT, the yuan was quoted at 6.9807 per U.S. dollar, 0.29% weaker than the previous close of 6.9603.
** China’s A-shares were trading at a premium of 31.74% over the Hong Kong-listed H-shares by 0707 GMT. (Reporting by Noah Sin, additional reporting by Luoyan Liu in Shanghai and Alun John in Hong Kong; editing by Uttaresh.V)