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February 3, 2020

Coronavirus: China UnionPay scraps service charges for cross-bank withdrawals in Hubei

Chinese card giant China UnionPay is set to enable cross-bank cash withdrawals without imposing any service charge in Hubei, which is the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The company intends to pay back service charges in proportion for nationwide payments to small and micro businesses through UnionPay QR code, reported Xinhua.

The payment system of UnionPay will reportedly offer service 24/7 to individuals and business during the epidemic control period against coronavirus.

According to the report, the service fees to the card-issuing banks of hospitals and charities engaged in the fight against the coronavirus onslaught will be lowered or exempted.

Coronavirus update

The coronavirus outbreak started from the Chinese city of Wuhan and has claimed the lives of 362 people as per data accumulated till 2 February.

A total of 17,386 coronavirus cases have been confirmed globally. The first death outside China due to the outbreak was reported in the Philippines.

In response to the outbreak, major banking groups including Goldman Sachs, UBS, and Credit Suisse have asked their bank workers in Hong Kong to work from home after returning from China.

Last week, banks operating in Hong Kong, including HSBC, said that they will close 20-30% of their branches or cut down service hours temporarily in the wake of the outbreak.

The Chinese central bank has announced plans to inject RMB1.2 trillion ($173bn) to ensure banks in the country don’t fall short of liquidity during the fight against the outbreak.

World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).

The outbreak could drag down Q1 GDP growth in China by around one percentage point, Caijing magazine quoted government economist Zhang Ming as saying.

According to Ming, GDP growth in Q1 2020 could be 5% or less.

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