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Bloodbath in global markets as Trump travel ban fans recession fears

Bloodbath in global markets as Trump travel ban fans recession fears
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London: Stock markets tumbled across the globe and oil prices slumped Thursday after President Donald Trump banned all travel from mainland Europe to t...

London: Stock markets tumbled across the globe and oil prices slumped Thursday after President Donald Trump banned all travel from mainland Europe to the United States for a month to fight the coronavirus pandemic, ramping up fears of worldwide recession.

With the market panic having already wiped away more than $11 trillion in global value, the head of the World Health Organisation said the COVID-19 outbreak "is a controllable pandemic" if countries stepped up measures to tackle it. "We are deeply concerned that some countries are not approaching this threat with the level of political commitment needed to control it," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told diplomats in Geneva, according to a statement.

Following an overnight slump, Sydney stock market tumbled 7.4 percent Thursday to suffer its worst session since the 2008 global financial crisis. Markets in Tokyo closed down 4.4 percent, putting it in a bear market after slumping more than 20 per cent from a recent high. Hong Kong shed 3.7 percent, though Shanghai was off 1.5 percent as China continues to see infection rates slow. Manila crashed nearly 10 percent -- sparking a brief trading halt -- after it emerged Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte would undergo a precautionary test for the virus. In the Gulf, Saudi dumped 3.0 percent in value, Dubai tumbled 8.0 percent and Qatar shed 4.5 percent. "Taking the view that the president's travel ban has only further heightened the likelihood of a global recession... investors fled," said Connor Campbell, market analyst at Spreadex trading group.

The carnage on stock markets spread to Europe, with losses accelerating in Paris and Frankfurt, which both fell more than 10 percent after the ECB unveiled a series of measures to shore up the eurozone economy, but it did not lower interest rates like central banks elsewhere. The European Central Bank ramped up its super-cheap bank lending programme, vowing to "support bank lending to those affected most by the spread of the coronavirus, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises", as well as spend an additional 120 billion euros ($135 billion euros) this year buying up government and corporate bonds.

On Wall Street, the stocks resumed their slide lower. The Dow tumbled 7.4 percent in the first minute of trading, having fallen 5.9 percent on Wednesday. "The crux of the matter is that all of the efforts being made to curtail the spread of the coronavirus are going to produce negative economic outcomes that will weigh far and wide on earnings prospects since they are also curtailing consumer and business spending," said market analyst Patrick J. O'Hare at Briefing.com. The coronavirus outbreak has left virtually no sector untouched, though travel and tourism have been particularly hard-hit as countries institute travel bans and quarantine requirements, with Italy in a country-wide lockdown. The coronavirus market crash has wiped off $11.3 trillion from global valuations as of the end of Wednesday, according to Howard Silverblatt, a senior analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

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