Practical analysis for investment professionals
30 October 2014

Poll: Is Ebola a Significant Risk Factor for Global Investors?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ebola death toll recently topped 4,900, with all but 10 of those deaths occurring in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The disease’s human toll has been tragic and threatens to worsen. The WHO estimates that we could soon see as many as 10,000 new cases a week reported in West Africa, which represents a 10-fold increase from the current pace. Although several experimental vaccines are under development, their wide-scale availability is not expected until well into 2015.

Thus far, the mobilization of governments, nongovernmental agencies, and private industry has helped to contain Ebola, and its global economic impact has been muted. Although the countries at ground zero are expected to see a significant slowdown in their economies, they account for just 2% of the GDP of sub-Saharan Africa. The International Monetary Fund recently reduced its 2014 economic growth forecast for the region from 5.5% to 5%.

We asked CFA Institute Financial NewsBrief readers if global investors should consider Ebola a significant risk factor.

To what extent is Ebola a significant risk factor for global investors?

Poll: Is Ebola a Significant Risk Factor for Global Investors?

A plurality of respondents, 41%, don’t currently consider it a significant threat but think it has the potential to become one. Their caution is echoed by an additional 19% who think the risk is localized and 8% who see the virus as a global threat.

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Please note that the content of this site should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute.

About the Author(s)
David Larrabee, CFA

David Larrabee, CFA, was director of member and corporate products at CFA Institute and served as the subject matter expert in portfolio management and equity investments. Previously, he spent two decades in the asset management industry as a portfolio manager and analyst. He holds a BA in economics from Colgate University and an MBA in finance from Fordham University. Topical Expertise: Equity Investments · Portfolio Management

3 thoughts on “Poll: Is Ebola a Significant Risk Factor for Global Investors?”

  1. T McManus says:

    Thanks for the poll results on Ebola; these confirm what I believe is the current thinking embedded in the markets today. However, it is difficult to place these results in the context of overall investor attitudes without knowing how many respondents contributed to your poll results.

    Would it be possible to post these figures for the Ebola poll and any similar polls conducted in the future? Thank you for your consideration.

  2. Dave Larrabee says:

    T McManus,

    Thanks for visiting our blog. There were 745 respondents to our poll on Ebola risk.

    Thanks also for your excellent suggestion to note the number of respondents to our future polls.


  3. “… mobilization of governments, nongovernmental agencies, and private industry has helped to contain Ebola …” This official party line is mostly white-wash. Were it not for e.g. underfinanced organizations like Doctors without Borders who act always at first call and risk their lives in the process, nothing would have happened for weeks. Just prior to the Ebola crisis striking, the WHO’s branch of experts for hemorraghic fevers had been almost dismantled to “cut costs” and since all prior Ebola outbreaks were largely happening in some African “backwater” nothing had really been done to prepare the world for such an onslaught. While it is true that “little” has happened in the “West” so far I vividly remember how air travel and business was brought to a near stand-still in a Fortune 100 company I consulted for during the SARS epidemic. Having “hot-desking” environments in their huge offices (no cubicles), everyone was told to stay home if they had the slightest reason to feel “sick”, have a “fever” etc. I’m sure, some more felt “sick” than actually were … With Ebola though, only a few hundred cases would bring the European health care systems to the brink of collapse as this is about the maximum that we could quarantine, no matter what politicians say.

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