Oil and gas business leaders discuss the impact of Coronavirus impact on the Houston economy

HOUSTON – The world is paying close attention to the coronavirus.

As the global death toll of the epidemic rises to more than 2,700 people, there is a growing concern about the virus's impact on the global and local economy.

Here is the breakdown of the economic impact of the coronavirus:

U.S. Stock Market

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Tuesday that Americans should prepare for possible outbreaks of the coronavirus in the United States.

This announcement caused two other stock market indicators, the Dow Jones industrial average, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index, to plummet drastically.

Markets in Europe and Asia were also down Wednesday, as once optimistic investors grow weary of the virus' effect on a globalized economy.

"We're seeing a lot of chaos in the marketplace, I think we're seeing that as evidence like what we have seen yesterday in the Dow," said Margaret Kidd, University of Houston Supply Chain & Logistics Technology Program Director.

Oil and Gas, International Business

In Greater Houston, a region built on oil and gas and international business, major companies are taking action in response to health concerns.

"So much of our supply chain is located in China, and I think that a crisis like this gives pause where companies are having to re-establish their risk management plans and diversify geographically what they do with suppliers and with their production facilities," Kidd said.

ExxonMobil and Chevron told KPRC they are taking precaution:

"ExxonMobil is monitoring the situation closely. We are reviewing and following the guidance from both central and local government authorities and advising our employees to follow government recommendations. ExxonMobil has well-established processes in place to manage impacts related to infectious disease outbreaks. Our focus right now is on ensuring the safety and health of our entire workforce and to do our part to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus in the community.

ExxonMobil has implemented appropriate restrictions on China business travel. ExxonMobil has a 14-day work from home policy for individuals traveling in from the Chinese mainland."

Chevron released a written statement:

"Chevron continues to monitor the situation very closely, utilizing the guidance of international and local health authorities. Our primary concern is the health and safety of our colleagues, and we are taking precautionary measures to reduce their risk of exposure."


The coronavirus has slowed traffic at airports as travelers and companies take precautions.

"A lot of international travel has stopped," said David Persse, the Health Authority for the Houston Health Department. "They're trying to do a lot more things remotely and through teleconference-ing and so forth. So a lot of that traveling has slowed down to decrease the risk. Fortunately, with those large companies that have a lot of international travel, they also have robust internal medical systems in place with very experienced nurses."

Hong Kong's airport, which is typically one of the busiest airports in Asia, was eerily empty, according to NBC's Richard Engle.

With many international ties to Houston, some residents expressed concern over the CDC announcing that it was just a matter of time for the virus to come to America.

"It does concern me actually because we're in a college campus with a lot of students, and we touch a lot of things, and we shake hands and greet each other," said a University of Houston student Trentin Alce.

Ultimately, Kidd said perception is key.

“When consumers are concerned, they don’t spend,” she said.