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Brazil: Stocks plunge nearly 5% on coronavirus fears

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The Sao Paulo stock exchange plunged nearly five per cent on Thursday on fears over the economic impact the new coronavirus outbreak will have on Brazil, whose largest trading partner is China.

[SAO PAULO] The Sao Paulo stock exchange plunged nearly five per cent on Thursday on fears over the economic impact the new coronavirus outbreak will have on Brazil, whose largest trading partner is China.

The Ibovespa index plunged more than six per cent before recovering to trade down 4.86 per cent shortly before closing.

Airline stocks were hit particularly hard, with carriers Gol and Azul down more than 19 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively, as the outbreak continued to severely disrupt the global travel industry.

Brazil, Latin America's biggest economy, depends heavily on exports of its raw materials to China, where purchases have been disrupted by the outbreak, which was first reported in Hubei province late last year.

The stock market slide came on the same day that Brazil said it now has eight confirmed coronavirus infections - up by five from the previous day. Health officials are investigating 636 suspected cases.

No deaths from the virus have been recorded in Brazil.

AFP