World markets slump as recession fears eclipse stimulus
London, Mar 18 : Global stock and oil markets plunged Wednesday, as vast stimulus measures failed to offset heightened concerns that the worsening coronavirus outbreak will tip the world into a deep downturn, dealers said.
In European stock market trading, Frankfurt, London and Paris tanked around five percent in morning deals, after similar dizzying losses across Asia.
Before the market open in Paris, French regulators banned for one month short-selling, or the betting that markets will fall — extending an initial one-day halt, in an effort to curb steep losses.
World oil prices spiralled lower on energy demand woes, with New York’s WTI crude touching a 17-year low at 25.08 per barrel, hurt also by a bitter price war between producers Saudi Arabia and Russia.
The dollar meanwhile rose across the aboard, including versus the Japanese yen which is seen as a haven investment in times of economic turbulence.
The United States and Britain are spearheading a multi-billion-dollar international fightback against economic havoc unleashed by the coronavirus, as the European Union shuts its borders to travellers from outside for 30 days.
Yet most market commentators agree that the virus-wracked world economy will likely plunge into recession — which means a minimum of two successive quarters of economic contraction.
“From what we see from the markets’ reaction, massive monetary and fiscal measures deployed are not thought to be enough to prevent economies from plunging into recession,” Swissquote Bank analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya told AFP.
“Every business and household is expecting governments to replace the coronavirus-led losses, which is simply not possible.
“Hence, there is already a massive shock in activity and demand, which almost guarantees a worldwide recession regardless of the measures taken by central banks and governments,” Ozkardeskaya added..
Washington led the charge on Tuesday, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying officials were drawing up a package that could surpass 1 trillion, on top of 300 billion in deferred tax payments, making it among the largest federal emergency plans ever and surpassing assistance during the 2008 global financial crisis.
The measures would include cash payments to struggling families, with Mnuchin warning the pandemic could drive US unemployment to 20 percent, a Republican Senate source told CNN.
“We don’t want people losing jobs and having no money to live,” US President Donald Trump said at a White House press conference, adding that the package “is a substantial number. We are going big”.