By Dawn Wang
The ongoing H7N9 avian flu epidemic, which has so far killed at least six people, has started to have an impact on the Chinese stock market, according to China National Radio.
Poultry markets in Shanghai have been closed and the sale of live birds severely restricted as part of a number of measures to control the spread of the virus.
China has announced a total of 21 diagnoses of the new bird flu strain, which has already killed six people. All those infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu reside in cities in eastern China.
Last week, Chinese airline stocks dipped following news of the H7N9 outbreak. The stock price of China Eastern dropped by 6.71 percent in the US, and 8.28 percent in Hong Kong. Reports also showed that Air China’s stock was largely undersold, while share price sank by 9.84 percent on Friday.
China National Radio quotes a senior manager at Ctrip.com, who suggests the possibility of a negative shock on tourism in infected cities if the new bird flu strain does not get controlled soon, as many tourists will likely cancel their trips due to bird flu fears.
Chinese stocks in related industries, such as hotels, poultry breeding, and tourism, are predicted by many stock analysts to have a bad performance in the coming weeks, according to Sina Finance.
The catering industry has also been affected by the bird flu scare. Chains which focus on selling poultry, like KFC and McDonald’s, are reportedly seeing a drop in customers.