February 26, 2020 / 11:19 AM / 4 months ago

CORRECTED-Moody's cuts 2020 global auto sales outlook on coronavirus hit

(Corrects to "more" from "lower" in second paragraph)

Feb 26 (Reuters) - Credit ratings agency Moody's Investor Service on Wednesday cut its 2020 outlook for global auto sales, with China taking the biggest hit as the coronavirus outbreak worsens.

The agency said here it expects global auto sales to fall 2.5% in 2020, more than its previous estimate of about 0.9% drop.

Moody's retained a "negative" outlook on the sector and said it expects global sales to rebound only modestly in 2021 with growth of 1.5%.

The agency now expects auto sales in China, the world’s largest market, to fall 2.9% in 2020 from previous estimates of 1% growth.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) on Wednesday warned it expects significant declines in China’s automotive production and sales levels in February due to the coronavirus outbreak.

January auto sales in China fell to a worse-than-feared 18.7%, marking the industry’s 19th consecutive month of sales decline, according to CAAM data on Wednesday.

China's National Health Commission reported another 406 new infections on Wednesday, down from 508 a day earlier, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China to 78,064. Its death toll rose by 52 to 2,715. (Reporting by Rachit Vats in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

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