US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he does not expect the coronavirus outbreak to have a material impact on the phase one US-China trade deal, although that could change as more data becomes available in coming weeks. Finance officials from the world’s 20 largest economies said on Sunday they would keep a close watch on the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak, but stopped short of identifying it as downside risk to the global economy. Fears of a coronavirus pandemic mounted even as the finance officials met in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh, with sharp rises in new cases reported in Iran, Italy and South Korea. Mnuchin, in an interview with Reuters late on Sunday, cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the impact of what he called a “human tragedy” on the global economy, or on companies’ supply chain decisions, saying it was simply too soon to know. I don’t expect that this will have any ramifications on phase one. Based on everything that we know, and where the virus is now, I don’t expect that it’s going to be material Steven Mnuchin China was focused on the virus for now, he said, but Washington still expected Beijing to live up to its commitments to buy more US products and services under the trade deal. “I don’t expect that this will have any ramifications on phase one. Based on everything that we know, and where the virus is now, I don’t expect that it’s going to be material,” he said. “Obviously that could change as the situation develops. Within the next few more weeks, we’ll all have a better assessment as there’s more data around the rate of the virus spreading.” Mnuchin acknowledged the outbreak could also delay the start of negotiations on deepening the trade deal with Beijing and reaching a phase two agreement, but said he was not worried about that at this point. “If we get the right deal before the election, that’s great. If we get the right deal after the election, that’s great. We don’t feel any pressure one way or another,” he said, referring to November’s US presidential election, in which President Donald Trump is seeking re-election. Mnuchin noted that the contagion factor with coronavirus outbreak was higher than with the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak in China in the early 2000s, but said the survival rate appeared to be much higher. In a separate news conference, he said there could be some short-term impact on supply chains, but cautioned against the idea that it could increase concerns about globalisation. Big companies were always assessing risks and adjusting supply chains, he added. Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.