(Bloomberg) – Ebola’s death toll and economic devastation in West Africa has little chance of causing significant global disruption, Goldman Sachs & Co. analysts said.
The economies of the most affected countries — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea — contribute less than 0.02 percent to the world’s economic output, according to a report today by Goldman’s investment research team. The impact of pandemics has more to do with how people react to the threat than how far a virus spreads, the analysts said.
The Ebola outbreak has claimed the lives of 4,951 people through Oct. 29, almost all in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to the World Health Organization. The virus went little noticed by public-health officials for months before mushrooming, and the United Nations has called for more funding and trained workers to combat the disease there.
Among commodities markets, cocoa is at the most risk to Ebola because West Africa accounts for 70 percent of global production, Goldman said. Most production comes from Ivory Coast and Ghana, which have been unaffected thus far by Ebola, the analysts said.
While airline and leisure-cruise stocks have been hit by fears that passengers would stay home, the effect will be limited because West Africa represents a small percentage of global traffic, Goldman said.