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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

World markets spiral as coronavirus fear unleashes oil-price war; U.S. spread continues

A new oil price war sparked by the coronavirus sent shock waves through financial markets, with stocks tumbling around the world as more countries implemented measures to contain the outbreak and the United States’ tally of known infections passed 500.
U.S. futures pointed to heavy losses on Wall Street on Monday. Overseas, London’s FTSE 100 fell more than 8 percent initially to its lowest in three years; Japan’s Nikkei index slumped more than 5 percent and Australia’s benchmark shed more than 7 percent. Oil prices suffered the sharpest plunge since the 1991 Gulf War, while 10-year U.S. bond yields dropped to a record low as investors sought safety. The moves underscored increasing alarm about the economic fallout from the coronavirus epidemic.

Here are the latest developments:
  • Global markets tanked after Saudi Arabia said it would increase oil production and cut prices. Oil prices dropped by more than 20 percent, while U.S. stock futures were down almost 5 percent.
  • European leaders called for emergency stimulus measures to limit the economic shock from coronavirus-related lockdowns and quarantines.
  • Governments around the world intensified their efforts to control the virus over the weekend, with Saudi Arabia and Italy enacting restrictions on travel, Iran suspending flights to Europe, and the United States formally warning against cruise ship travel.
  • More than 30 states announced infections, as well as the District of Columbia, where a church rector had the city’s first confirmed infection. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that they would be self-quarantining after meeting an attendee at last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference who has tested positive.


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