Global markets on alert as killer virus fuels new SARS fears
LONDON: World stocks responded yesterday as investors shrugged off fears over a deadly virus from China, while Frankfurt briefly struck a record peak on this month’s landmark trade deal, analysts said. Frankfurt equities added 0.1 percent, London won 0.2 percent and Paris gained a marginal amount in late morning deals. Asia bounced back on bargain-buying following the previous day’s sharp losses but investors were on edge after the deadly coronavirus was confirmed to have spread to the United States. “European stock markets are showing small gains despite the fears of coronavirus-a case has now been reported in Hong Kong,” noted CMC Markets analyst David Madden. “In early trading, the DAX printed a record-high but the market is off the highs of the session. “The Chinese government’s response to the health situation seems to be more upfront than their handling of the SARS crisis, so traders are not as fearful.”
Meanwhile in Frankfurt, the benchmark DAX 30 index zoomed to a record high at 13,640.06 points, with dealers attributing the move to the recent China-US trade deal. “German companies are among most exposed global trade worries, and therefore those enjoying the biggest bounce since US-China relations improved at the back end of last year, resulting in this month’s trade deal,” said Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson.
Global equities have however been roiled this week by fears China virus outbreak, which has killed nine and sickened hundreds, could cause as much economic damage as the SARS epidemic that killed hundreds of people in 2003.
Shanghai dropped more than one percent in early yesterday trade, extending the previous day’s 1.4 percent drop, with authorities battling to contain the coronavirus strain as China prepares for the Lunar New Year holidays, when millions of people travel across the country.
Officials warned yesterday the strain could mutate and spread. However, Chinese mainland shares performed a U-turn to end the day with gains. Tourism-linked firms-which had been hit by concerns about the impact on the global economy just as it shows signs of a tentative recovery from a long-running slowdown-also enjoyed a reverse.
After a sell-off in Asia on Tuesday, news that the US had reported its first case of the new virus hit Wall Street, the Dow and S&P 500 sinking from record highs. Fears of a bigger outbreak rose on Monday after a prominent expert from China’s National Health Commission confirmed that the virus can be passed between people. The World Health Organization will hold an emergency meeting later yesterday to determine whether to declare a global public health emergency over the disease, which has also been detected in Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.