Analyst Tyler Broda points to the fact China consumed about 35% of the world's iron ore and 20% of its copper in 2003, but in 2019 those percentages had swelled to about 70% and 50% respectively.
"In our view, even a less virulent disease could create more impact than comparisons to 2003 and this appears to be what the copper and iron ore markets are telling us, down 7% and 10% respectively over the past five days," said Broda.
He added that a shock to economic activity "could cause a financial stress event that might be particularly troublesome for the levered property sector, a key driver of steel demand".
However, Broda said China's policymakers would likely provide emergency support to minimise impact of any demand slump.
SP Angel's John Meyer said the virus could impact economic growth, but early indications were that copper market participants were not too concerned by developments
"Copper inventories continue to draw down in LME warehouses indicating that the market does not consider the 2019-nCoV to be of severe impact to the Chinese economy," Meyer said in a note.
BMO Capital Markets said the virus could impact the recovery of the diamond market.
"China represents circa 10-12% of global diamond demand with sales typically peaking around the Lunar New Year," it said.
"Whilst most purchases are likely to have been made ahead of the lockdown, it is possible that retail sales may still have been affected."