Key stock markets around the world, on Friday took a pummeling as investors made clear the level of concern surrounding the financial impact of a global coronavirus outbreak.
Germany’s main DAX index of 30 blue-chip stocks initially tumbled by more than five per cent compared to Thursday’s closing figure, before recovering to slightly more than four per cent down, at 11,817.73.
Bourses in France and Britain also saw plunges in early morning trading. The CAC40 index on the Paris stock exchange was 4.12 per cent down compared to the previous close.
While London’s benchmark FTSE 100 fell more than 4 per cent before both regained some ground.
Traders attributed the falls to rising panic about the economic effects of the coronavirus epidemic that has taken hold in Europe in recent days.
Germany’s DAX has now lost more than 12 per cent in one week alone, the sharpest decline since the start of the Greek debt crisis in the summer of 2011.
The European losses followed a miserable day on the Asian markets, which themselves were dragged down by heavy losses the day before on Wall Street.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average briefly lost 1,000 points as the yen’s sharp rise against major currencies also hurt export-linked shares.
The Nikkei lost 805.27 points, or 3.67 per cent, to close at 21,142.96 for the fifth trading day of decline.
Other Asian stocks also ended sharply lower. China’s Shanghai Composite index plummeted 3.71 per cent and the Hang Seng Index shed 2.42 per cent, while South Korea’s Kospi Index lost 3.3 per cent.
However, restricted to China and neighbouring countries in the first weeks after its initial detection, the rapid spread of the coronavirus to several continents has greatly increased the potential economic impact.
Meanwhile, about 2,800 people, most of them in China, have died of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
The virus has infected more than 80,000 globally.