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China Market Opening Delayed Until Feb. 3 on Virus Upheaval

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China Market Opening Delayed Until Feb. 3 on Virus Upheaval

(Bloomberg) -- China’s financial markets will remain closed until next Monday after authorities extended the Lunar New Year break by three days as they grapple with the worsening virus crisis.

Trading will resume Feb. 3, the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges said. Shanghai authorities separately advised that companies shouldn’t start work until at least Feb. 9.

While onshore markets will be closed all week, traders are finding alternative ways to express their China concerns. Futures on the FTSE China A50 Index sank as much as 5.9% in Singapore on Monday, and extended declines in after-hours trading. The offshore yuan fell 0.8%, trading weaker than its 50-day and 200-day moving averages.

China’s stock market, the world’s second largest, last saw trading on Jan. 23, when the Shanghai benchmark tumbled 2.8% in the worst eve to a Lunar Year in its three-decade history. People familiar with market said earlier Monday that stocks and futures trading, as well as interbank transactions for bonds and currencies, would all resume Feb. 3.

In 2003, during the outbreak of SARS, officials extended a May Day holiday market closure by four trading days.

The death toll from the virus has risen to at least 80 in China, with confirmed cases reaching 2,744. Authorities said on Sunday the infectious disease isn’t under control as officials struggle to contain the outbreak despite placing curbs on movement in some cities. In the epicenter of Wuhan, 5 million people left the city before the lockdown, Mayor Zhou Xianwang said Sunday, according to the South China Morning Post.

Hong Kong’s financial markets are due to reopen on Wednesday. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Saturday upgraded the government’s response against the coronavirus to the highest level, and said the outbreak could extend the city’s recession into 2020. Hong Kong had six confirmed infections as of Sunday.

The virus may increase tensions in the city. Protesters on Sunday set fire to an unoccupied housing estate in the north of the city after the government said it may be used as a quarantine facility. Medical staff have threatened to strike if the city doesn’t close the border with China to limit the spread of the illness.

(Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges confirm date for markets to open)

--With assistance from Livia Yap and Richard Frost.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Lucille Liu in Beijing at xliu621@bloomberg.net;Jun Luo in Shanghai at jluo6@bloomberg.net;Evelyn Yu in Shanghai at yyu263@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Dobson at pdobson2@bloomberg.net, Christopher Anstey

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