Florida businesses could suffer as coronavirus spreads to Brazil

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There are confirmed cases of coronavirus in at least 53 countries.

Brazil’s government confirmed Wednesday its first case of the coronavirus and suspects there could be more of them.

World Trade Center Miami Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Alice Ancona told the Miami Herald because Latin America depends on trade with China — where coronavirus is most heavily concentrated — it could impact Florida’s economy.

“Brazil is one of the biggest export markets for Florida,” Ancona told the publication. “We’ve been looking at Brazil very optimistically, but reports are they’re already slowing down.”

Alberto Ramos, the head of Latin American research at Goldman Sachs, told Reuters the “most exposed economies are Chile, Peru and Brazil.

“The key source of downside risk to LatAm is a deterioration of the terms of trade triggered by deep long-lasting impact of a China slowdown on commodity prices,” Ramos said.

Since Feb. 19, the Brazil Stock Market (BOVESPA) has fallen more than 12 percent.

Bloomberg reported Brazil’s currency, the real, fell to an all-time low of 4.4970 per dollar. The drop came even as the country’s central bank stepped in to support the currency for the fourth time in two weeks.

On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped almost 1,200 points amid worries the coronavirus outbreak will wreak havoc on the global economy.

There are more than 83,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 2,867 people have died as of Friday morning. So far, China has more than 78,000 confirmed cases, while Brazil has only one and the U.S. has 60.

As of Thursday, the Florida Department of Health reported no cases of the coronavirus in Florida.

As the coronavirus continues to spread — there are confirmed cases in at least 53 countries — there could be a slowdown in tourism.

University of South Florida business professor Donna Davis told WTSP that she expects the outbreak to have a negative impact on Florida’s economy.

“Our primary economic backbone here is tourism,” Davis said. “As a pandemic spreads, we typically would have a large number of tourists coming from Asia and so, people are going to pull back on their plans, they might physically be told ‘you can’t come into the country,’ and so that would cause an adverse impact on the tourism industry here in Florida.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the spread of coronavirus will likely cause a pandemic. World Health Organization director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the virus has “pandemic potential.”

It’s unclear how long the threat of coronavirus will last because there is still not a vaccine to protect against it or mediation approved to treat it.

Mark Bergin

Mark Bergin is a freelance journalist, who previously worked as an online writer for 10News WTSP in St. Petersburg. Bergin has covered the Tampa Bay Rays’ stadium negotiations, the 2018 midterm elections, Hurricane Irma, Tampa Bay’s transportation issues and city/county government. He also covers the NFL for the Bleav Podcast Network and for BrownsNation.com. You can follow his work on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram at @mdbergin. Reach him by email at [email protected].


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