Global stock markets suffer biggest falls since 2008 financial crisis because of coronavirus and oil price war
Global stock markets have suffered their biggest falls since the 2008 financial crisis because of the double threat of a coronavirus-driven global recession and an oil price war.
The FTSE 100 index plunged almost 9%. Germany’s Dax and France’s Cac tumbled 6.5%, and Spain’s Ibex lost 6.3%. The biggest sell-off was Italy, the country worst hit by Covid-19 in Europe, with the FTSE Mib index down 10%.
Stock markets in Asia Pacific recorded huge losses too. The Nikkei in Japan fell more than 5%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Sen lost 3.9% and the Shanghai stock exchange dropped just over 3%.
Panic selling is spreading across Europe as the coronavirus epidemic seems to be taking grip around the world.
Fears over the world economy are exacerbated by the Saudi Arabia’s decision to ramp up oil production in an attempt to drive Russia and the US out of the market.
The price of Brent crude oil plummeted 30%, its biggest decline since the start of the Gulf war in 1991. Some experts expect it to fall further unless the Saudis and Russians return to the bargaining table.
Italy was plunged into chaos as government plans to quarantine more than 16 million people – more than a quarter of its population – were leaked to the media. The number of people infected by coronavirus worldwide has passed 110,000 and the death toll is heading towards 4,000.