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Stock markets fall as Chinese grapple to contain coronavirus

By Philip Smith

Sterling continues its good run, helped by a CBI Industrial Trends survey showing a surge in optimism among manufacturing businesses

Despite attempts by the Chinese authorities to contain the coronavirus, nervous traders have been selling. Shares in the Far East continued their rollercoaster ride, falling sharply again after stabilising yesterday following big drops on Tuesday.

In China, the Shanghai plunged 2.75 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down at 1.52 per cent. The Nikkei in Japan closed down 0.98 per cent, fuelled also by figures showing a drop in exports of 6.3 per cent year on year in December – a decline for the 13th successive month.

There were significant losses in Europe. In London the FTSE fell 0.85 per cent, closing at 7507.67. The DAX in Frankfurt dropped 0.94 per cent while the CAC in Paris fell 0.65 per cent.

The US markets followed the global trend and opened down. At 5pm GMT the Dow was down 0.54per cent and Nasdaq 0.18per cent.

On the currency markets, the yen had a good day and was up against the pound, dollar and euro. However, the euro was down against all three major benchmark currencies probably due to the European Central Bank deciding to keep its deposit rate at -0.5 per cent. It also announced plans for a full review of its strategy for this year including its monetary policy.

The pound continued its good run, helped by a CBI Industrial Trends survey showing a surge in optimism among manufacturing businesses. It was also helped by an increasing view that, due to a recent bout of positive economic news, the Bank of England is less likely to make a rate cut next week than previously thought. Against the euro, the pound was up 0.20 per cent but down 0.32 per cent against the dollar.

FURTHER READING: ECB holds policy as it launches strategic review

FURTHER READING: What is the coronavirus and how could it affect stock markets?

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