THE GLOBAL economy nosedived as soon as markets opened yesterday morning with shares around the world haemorrhaging.
Once more at the start of US trading, shares plunged so fast and so deeply that it triggered an automatic temporary suspension in trading aimed at curbing panic-selling.
The main US and UK share indexes were both 9% lower, with European markets facing their worst ever daily loss.
Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on the world’s financial markets after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak a ‘pandemic’, and the US banned European flights.
Earlier, the European Central Bank failed to cut interest rates, although it did pledge fresh stimulus.
Meanwhile, rate cuts by the US central bank last week and the Bank of England on Wednesday appear to have had little effect.
Overnight, Asian markets also saw big falls, with Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index closing 4.4% lower.
In the UK, every single share in the FTSE 100 index was trading lower.
Once again, travel companies saw some of the biggest falls, with airline group IAG down nearly 9% and Tui falling 14%.
German shares were also down, with the DAX dropping seven per cent to hit its lowest level since 2016.
Meanwhile, the French CAC 40 lost almost nine per cent. Stocks in Italy, the worst-affected country by coronavirus outside of China, were down around five per ent.
Russia’s main index on the Moscow Exchange opened almost five per cent lower.
The losses on Asian markets were led by Australia, with its key All Ordinaries index closing down 7.23 per cent. It was followed by India’s Mumbai Sensex, which was down over 6.5 per cent, and Japan’s Nikkei 225, which lost 4.4 per cent.
The Hong Kong Stock Exchange had fallen 3.6 per cent by the end of the trading day, while the Shanghai Composite was down 1.52 per cent.
On Wednesday, US stocks suffered massive losses, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 1,464 points or almost 5.9 per cent, while the S&P 500 plummeted nearly five per cent.