March 12 2020
Stock markets across the globe took a beating today after US President Donald Trump announced a 30-day ban on travel to the United States from Europe over the Covid-19 epidemic.
Asian markets went down at the open as the World Health Organisation officially categorised that the coronavirus spread as a pandemic.
Trump’s European travel ban caused further selling at the markets, despite a series of measures intended to mitigate the economic impact of the epidemic which has paralysed travel and damaged businesses.
Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei was down 5.42 percent or 1,051.88 points to 18,364.18, while the broader Topix was down 5.06 percent or 70.15 points to 1,314.97 right after Trump’s announcement.
It also sent safe haven yen higher, with the dollar fetching 103.63 yen by 0130 GMT, from 104.57 yen in early Asian trade.
The coronavirus outbreak has left virtually no sector untouched, though travel and tourism have been the most hard-hit.
The Dow Jones Industrial Index plunged around 1,465 points, or 5.9 percent, to 23,553.22 yesterday, leaving the index more than 20 percent below its peak..
European stock markets in Europe also suffered, including the FTSE 100 which dropped 1.4 percent despite the Bank of England cutting interest rate to a record low and the government pledging $39 billion of fiscal stimulus.
The markets was also hit by a sharp fall of oil prices which went down another five percent after Trump’s announcement.
The oil price slump was triggered after Saudi Arabia and UAE stepped up a price war with plans to flood the global markets after Russia declined an OPEC-backed plan to cut production in response to losses caused by Covid-19.