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Stock markets continue to fall as coronavirus crisis worsens

By Ramla Soni

Europe’s Stoxx 600 tumbled more than 4.5 per cent, with London’s FTSE 100 sliding by roughly the same margin

Stock markets continue to fall as the worsening coronavirus pandemic forces governments to tighten measures to combat the outbreak.

Europe’s Stoxx 600 tumbled more than 4.5 per cent, with London’s FTSE 100 sliding by roughly the same margin. The moves came after sharp falls across Asia.

S&P 500 futures dropped 3 per cent in European trading after earlier hitting 5 per cent.

In Italy, the centre of the outbreak in Europe, the government has ordered all businesses except those deemed essential to close down, as the death toll reached 5,400 people.

The global tally of those infected with Covid-19 has hit 341,427 with more than 15,000 fatalities globally.

Asia-Pacific shares fell sharply, led by Australia and India, as governments bolstered lockdown measures against the coronavirus while talks in the US on a proposed $2tn economic support package stalled.

At the same time a funding package to combat the economic impact of coronavirus in the US did not get enough votes in a key Senate procedural vote on Sunday evening, March 22 after Democratic leaders warned that the bill did too much to bail out companies and not enough to help workers.

This sent US equities downwards. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 900 points. S&P 500 futures were off by nearly 4 per cent and Nasdaq 100 futures declined by 3.79 per cent.

India’s Sensex plunged 13 per cent, its worst day on record, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 5.6 per cent.

Elsewhere in Asia, China’s CSI 300 index dropped 3.4 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 4.9 per cent lower.

FURTHER READING: Sterling falls to lowest level in 35 years except for 2016 ‘flash crash’ as dollar strengthens

FURTHER READING: Goldman Sachs predicts record unemployment rise

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