SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Yonhap) -- Fitch ratings agency said Friday the new coronavirus outbreak will add to auto sector challenges this year as COVID-19 disrupts global supply chains.
"The greatest impact on the sector is likely to come from lower sales during the outbreak in China, the world's largest market for new vehicles. The country's new vehicle sales are likely to be depressed until the outbreak is under control," Fitch said in a statement.
Fitch expected sales in China to start recovering from April and accelerate in the second half of the year.
In recent weeks, carmakers have had difficulty in manufacturing vehicles as they haven't received parts supplies from China.
Car and component production was halted in China from Jan. 24 to early this week as the Chinese authorities extended the Lunar New Year holiday by one week through Sunday to keep the deadly virus from spreading further.
Some parts makers in China resumed production early this week but disruptions related to labor or supply chains will continue until the end of February or early March, the statement said.