STOCKS HIT 20-WEEK LOWS

Pretoria News - - BR | STOCKS -

TURKEY stocks sank up to 10 per­cent as the con­flict in Syria in­ten­si­fied, while fears of a loom­ing pan­demic and a likely global re­ces­sion deep­ened a wider sell-off and sent emerg­ing mar­ket (EM) stocks to 20-week lows.

Coun­tries on three con­ti­nents re­ported their first cases of the coronaviru­s on Fri­day, while the tally in main­land China alone was more than 78 800 with al­most 2800 deaths.

The virus broke out late in De­cem­ber in China and with new in­fec­tions re­ported around the world now sur­pass­ing those in China, any ex­pec­ta­tion that the epi­demic would be over in a few months and eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity would re­turn to nor­mal have been dashed.

The sub­se­quent rout in mar­kets pushed an in­dex of world shares to its worst week since the fi­nan­cial cri­sis of 2008.

“The moves over the past week are giv­ing a sense of a global re­ces­sion,” said Morten Lund, a macroe­co­nomic re­search an­a­lyst at Nordea Mar­kets.

“There are only two things that can stop the sell-off – we get some of­fi­cial com­ments from sev­eral coun­tries say­ing that they are start­ing to get things un­der con­trol, or the cen­tral banks and the gov­ern­ments step in with stim­u­lus to ease mar­kets and re­store cred­i­bil­ity.”

MSCI’s in­dex of EM shares slid 2.2 per­cent, with shares in main­land China, South Korea, In­dia and Rus­sia, all drop­ping more than 3 per­cent.

The broader in­dex recorded its worst week in two years, down 7 per­cent, while on the month it is down 5 per­cent.

Turkey shares cut some early losses but still traded 5 per­c­cent lower af­ter an air strike by Syr­ian gov­ern­ment forces in the Idlib region killed 33 Turk­ish sol­diers, wors­en­ing the long ex­ist­ing con­flict in Syria.

The coun­try’s fi­nan­cial reg­u­la­tor banned short sell­ing across all Turk­ish stocks for a day. The lira tum­bled to a 17-month low of 6.2512 to the dol­lar, taking no re­lief from a weak­ness in the green­back.

Pres­i­dent Tayyip Er­do­gan warned that Turkey would launch a full-scale of­fen­sive to re­pel Syr­ian forces un­less they pulled back from Turk­ish ob­ser­va­tion posts, while the coun­try’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Fahret­tin Al­tun called on Rus­sia and Iran, who back Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad, to stop the hos­til­i­ties.

Rus­sia’s rou­ble fell more than 1.5 per­cent against both the dol­lar and the euro.

Mean­while, Nige­ria cur­rency slid past 400 naira to the dol­lar on the oneyear for­ward mar­ket af­ter the coun­try recorded it first case of coronaviru­s. I Reuters

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