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The Ebola Outbreak and the Economy: What Could Happen?

Let’s be honest here: we should all know that the Ebola virus probably won’t affect our health and it’s not a threat, but what kind of ramifications could there be for our fiscal well-being? As the global scare of Ebola hits hysteric levels, it’s definitely taking a toll on more than our psyche. While nothing can compare to the deadly effects this disease can cause, the Ebola outbreak and the economy has caused financial concerns that are raised and they’ are important to take note of.

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The Global Financial Market Could Crumble

Analysts have already come out on the record to say that the continuous spread of Ebola beyond Africa could bear a very significant and detrimental weight on the financial markets. It is very likely that the virus could spread to larger and more well-established economies and there have already been cases diagnosed in the United States. Ebola has already ignited the sales of travel and airline stocks the world over and the Ebola outbreak and the economy are already very closely tied. GDP rates will continue to fall if consumers and business alike decide to change vacation plans and cancel their flights. It’s still unknown just how long Ebola could affect the economy, but it’s certain that it will happen in some way.

Ebola has already been heavily compared to the 2003 Asian outbreak of the airborne SARS virus. SARS was the cause of a halt in retail sales in Asia and it also changed the face of tourism and China’s stock exchange for a period of time.

Rising Chocolate Prices

The price of cocoa beans spiked more than 10% last month due in large part to fears that Ebola would spread through the Ivory Coast where the largest producer of chocolate’s main ingredient–cocoa beans–is based. The Ivory Coast borders both Guinea and Liberia, two of the three countries (Sierra Leone would be the third) that are most affected by the virus at this time. This West African region is not only “ground zero” for the Ebola virus, but it also produces 70% of the world’s cocoa supply. With Halloween just now coming into our rearview, it was common knowledge that the big candy producers like Nestle were on high alert.

Airline Stocks Have the Potential to Nosedive

Airline stocks have already fallen about 7% due to the Ebola outbreak and the economy is having very strong fears about a global health crisis. When news broke that a medical employee contracted Ebola while working in Spain, shares in IAG–owner of British Airways, Iberia and Carnival cruise lines–dropped almost 9% in just two short days in anticipation that there would be impending travel restrictions. The World Travel and Tourism Council, a group that represents airlines, hotels and other travel companies, has reported a 30% drop in early bookings to Africa since this all started. If things continue on this way, the losses for airline companies and their shareholders could worsen a whole lot so long as the virus continues to become widespread. Fears get heightened very quickly when people let their minds wander. The possibility of the virus becoming airborne and shutting down borders and restricting travel is a very scary thing, and even trying to imagine being stuck on an airplane with a person that could potentially be spreading the virus is more than enough for most people to throw in the towel on traveling for some time. Investors that are trying to predict how things will turn out have their eyes and ears fixed on the situation, and their trying at best to cut their losses.

Travel Insurance Might Become Necessity

Global health and security scares are one of the main reasons people invest in good travel insurance to begin with when traveling internationally. After September 11, there was a 10% increase in the purchase of airline travel insurance. Currently, only about a third of Americans that fly internationally actually go through with buying travel insurance. As the Ebola outbreak and the economy continues to ravage across continents infecting people that either contracted the virus and others on airplanes, it may become crucial for more Americans to start purchasing airline travel insurance.

The Face of Healthcare Could Change Drastically

The total fallout of the Ebola outbreak and the economy has yet to be determined in the United States or anywhere else in the world, but money is certainly being poured into the fight against the disease and its further spread. Training, testing, treatments and waste management all cost facilities a whole lot of money, but it’s all necessary to aid against Ebola and its often deadly effects. If Ebola was to continue to spread through Africa, it would definitely have a much larger impact on the healthcare of other countries all around the world.

The Ebola outbreak and the economy are very closely tied and we have to take control as one global people working together.