EMERG­ING mar­kets (EM) stocks racked up more losses yes­ter­day as cen­tral banks and gov­ern­ments strug­gled to calm fears of a deep global re­ces­sion as the coro­n­avirus shut down more economies.

On the JSE, the blue chip Top40 in­dex fell 1.37 per­cent to 34 239.3 points, while the all share in­dex lost 1.66 per­cent to 37 963.01 points.

The rand also soft­ened. At 5pm, the cur­rency bid at R17.39 to the dol­lar, 34 cents weaker than at the same time on Wed­nes­day.

In­vestors dump­ing financial as­sets in favour of hard cash have left all of the world’s big mar­ket places look­ing for a floor.

MSCI’s in­dex of emerg­ing mar­ket stocks gave up nearly 3 per­cent to touch their low­est since March 2016, fol­low­ing another rout on Wall Street on Wed­nes­day.

The EM in­dex has so far lost al­most 14 per­cent this week plac­ing it on course for its worst week since 2008.

Philip­pine stocks crashed 13.3 per­cent in their worst day on record, fol­low­ing a two-day halt and most Asian stocks were deep in the red.

There were some signs of sta­bil­ity in Europe and Africa, spurred by early gains for bat­tered west­ern Euro­pean mar­kets, but an­a­lysts were scep­ti­cal it would hold.

Moscow-listed stocks jumped 4 per­cent, re­cov­er­ing from two-year lows, while eq­uity in­dices in Hun­gary and Warsaw rose be­tween 0.6 per­cent and 3.3 per­cent.

With in­vestors only in­ter­ested in hold­ing dol­lars, cur­ren­cies of most de­vel­op­ing world economies weak­ened.

“The coro­n­avirus pan­demic has halted global growth and travel, and with it the de­mand for en­ergy com­modi­ties,” said UBS Global Wealth Man­age­ment an­a­lyst Michael Bol­liger.

“Com­pound­ing this is the po­ten­tially huge over­sup­ply in the oil mar­ket fol­low­ing the breakup of the Opec+ deal. All this has cre­ated a toxic cock­tail for the oil price and the EM cur­ren­cies linked to it.”

Oil prices did gain back ground overnight. I Reuters some

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