On Monday billions have been wiped off global stock markets over fears of a coronavirus pandemic has spiralled, as people without any symptoms of the deadly virus are passing the infection on to others.
The FTSE 100 share index opened on Monday at 2% lower and was 3.5% lower by mid-morning, with around £40bn being wiped off the value of shares.and Milans stock market plummeted 4.5%.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell said, “There has been so much complacency in recent weeks from investors, despite clear signs that China’s economy is facing a large hit and that supply chains around the world were being disrupted.
“Markets initially wobbled in January, but had quickly bounced back, implying that investors didn’t see the coronavirus as a serious threat to corporate earnings.
“They may now be reappraising the situation.”
IAG who owns British Airways and Tui were down by around 8.5% and the biggest faller was easyJet which sank 14%.
Brent cude oil was trading at 4% lower by just above $56a barrel, whilst the futures indicated the Nasdaq on Wall Street opened at 35 down.
Gold prices reached a seven year high at $1,6883 per ounce as investors flock to invest their cash given the global coronavirus fears.
David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets said, “The fear is that we could be looking at a scenario where the virus spreads aggressively in this part of the world too, so traders have the perfect excuse to take profits and get out of stocks because it wasn’t that long ago that they were at fairly lofty levels.”
Coronavirus is fast spreading across the world since the original outbreak in Wuhan, China in January of this year.
Dr Simon Clarke, Associate Professor in cellular microbiology, University of Reading said, “Worryingly, it seems that the virus can pass from person to person without symptoms, making it extremely difficult to track.”
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, EU infectious disease expert Professor Herman Goossens said, there is evidence asymptomatic people are spreading coronavirus and we are “very much on the verge of the next pandemic.”
He added, “I wouldn’t panic but I’m certainly concerned at what’s happening in Italy.”
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