Financial markets panic as coronavirus spreads

Financial markets panic as coronavirus spreads

It isn’t just holiday makers that are being affected by the spread of the coronavirus.

Experts are predicting that things will reach a tipping point in the near future, and the possibility of not being able to contain the movement of the virus still exists.

To that end, many areas remain in a state of utter panic.

Whilst it’s abundantly clear that health issues remain paramount, and lockdowns in various communities which now include northern Italy can only be seen as sensible rather than an over the top measure, it’s important to keep one eye on how businesses are being affected.

For example, on Monday morning in London, stock prices opened much lower than expected following the weekend’s surge in coronavirus outbreaks.

The FTSE 100 index was down 160.03 points (or 2.2%) at 7,243.89, FTSE 250 was down 401.37 points (or 1.9%) at 21, 378.83 and the AIM All-Share was also down, by 10.03 points (or 1.%) at 962.59.

Investor concerns

Investors appear to be concerned that the longer the virus lingers, and the further it spreads outside China, the longer-term the impact on the world’s economy.

So far, 80,000 people have been affected across the globe with approximately 2,600 deaths, and the disease is showing no signs of slowing down. News of outbreaks in Iran and Italy have led to suggestions of a pandemic.

With the global economic recovery already fragile, the coronavirus is putting this further at risk. Indeed, the effects of the same have caused G20 financial chiefs to voice ‘real concern.’

IMF chief, Kristalina Georgieva suggested that the outbreak would take about 0.1 of a percentage point from global growth, whilst the International Air Transport Association suggested the impact would translate into a potential 13% full-year loss of passenger demand for carriers in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The estimated impact of the COVID-19 outbreak also assumes that the centre of the public health emergency remains in China. If it spreads more widely to Asia-Pacific markets then impacts on airlines from other regions would be larger,” IATA noted.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong ended down 1.6% on Friday with the Shanghai Composite closed 0.3% down.