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Coronavirus woes rattle markets despite central banks measures

Coronavirus woes continue to rattle markets despite central banks measures

Asian stocks dropped sharply at the beginning of the week despite efforts from global central banks, especially the Federal Resave, to stimulate their economies, as global recession feats remained predominate.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index dipped 2.46 percent to end at 17,002.04 points.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index tumbled 4.18 percent to 23,028.43, and the Shanghai Composite Index closed 3.40 percent up at 2,789.25.

However, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 tumbled the most as it finished 9.7 percent down at 5,002.00 and South Korea’s Kospi index descended 3.19 percent to 1,714.86.

Overnight, the Fed surprised markets for the second time as it slashed interest rates to zero to enable borrowing as cheap as possible for American households and businesses.

The Fed also announced it would purchase at least $700 billion more in bonds as part of its new quantitative easing program, while extended its U.S. dollar swap lines to other key economies, including Japan, England, Europe, Canada and Switzerland to guarantee that those nations have enough dollar reserves at disposal.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand followed the Fed’s suit as it cut interest rates by 75 basis points to 0.25 percent and the Bank of Japan vowed inject money into the Tokyo stock market by doubling its purchases of exchange-traded funds.

Despite the announced measures from major central banks, panics continued to rattle financial markets amid rising fears the global economy is on the brink of a global recession.

Data from China added to concerns, as industrial production slipped to its lowest level on record of 13.5 percent in the first two months of this year, and urban unemployment climbed from 5.2 percent to 6.5 percent.

Retail sales dropped 20.5 percent on annual basis during the first two months of 2019 and fixed asset investment stumbled 24.5 percent.

The death toll from the novel coronavirus has reached 6,500 worldwide, with confirmed cases totaling more than 170,000.

The sell off has moved to Europe, where the Euro STOXX 600 plummeted 6.04 percent to 280.76, as lockdowns in Italy, Spain and France raised expectations that Europe would lead the global recession.

On March 15, EU states recorded the highest one-day death toll, with Italy recording over 3,500 cases, which is the biggest single-day surge.

Later in the day, G7 representatives will meet via satellite to discuss measures to deal with the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

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