The spread of the coronavirus is likely to tilt 2020 global economic growth below the OECD’s base-case estimate of 2.4 per cent (already below the 2.5 per cent threshold marking a global recession) towards its worst-case estimate of 1.5 per cent.

This disease-induced shock to supply and demand could not have come at a worse time for a world economy awash in debt: $72.7tn (92.5 per cent of global gross domestic product) for sovereign borrowers and $69.3tn (88.3 per cent of GDP) for non-financial corporate borrowers, according to the Institute of International Finance. Many highly indebted sovereign and corporate borrowers will be in distress.