NEW YORK: Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region fell broadly and heavily on Thursday on mounting signs that the coronavirus outbreak would take a dramatic toll on the global economy, reported the New York Times.
Shares in Japan were down more than 5 percent midday, while shares in Australia led the region’s slump with a fall of more than 6 percent. Futures markets signaled dire openings for Wall Street and European stocks as well.
The fall was driven by a sharp drop on Wall Street on Wednesday, but it worsened considerably following a spate of late news from the United States. President Trump on late Wednesday said the United States would stop most Europeans outside Britain from traveling to the country for 30 days in an effort to slow the spread. The State Department advised Americans to reconsider all international travel. An aide in the United States Senate tested positive. The National Basketball Association suspended its season after a player tested positive.
With global growth on the line, investors have been looking for world leaders to step in to keep the economic gears turning. Mr. Trump on Wednesday said he would extend financial relief for sick workers and would ask Congress for more. Britain has said it would spend more than $30 billion. Central banks are cutting interest rates.
So far, for investors, it hasn’t been enough.
Prices for 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds, a traditional safe haven for investors, jumped in Asian trading on Thursday, helping to keep yields at historic lows.
Oil prices were down more than 5 percent, shaken by a clash between Saudi Arabia and Russia over excessive production and by fears that the world simply does not need as much fuel as it once did.
Among stock markets, in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index was down 5.2 percent in midday trading. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index tumbled 6.3 percent.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was down 3.6 percent. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index was down 1 percent.