LONDON, March 12 - Stock markets tumbled across the globe and oil prices slumped on Thursday after President Donald Trump banned all travel from mainland Europe to the United States for a month to fight the coronavirus pandemic, ramping up fears of worldwide recession.
With the market panic having already wiped away more than USD 11 trillion in global value, the head of the World Health Organization said the COVID-19 outbreak �is a controllable pandemic� if countries stepped up measures to tackle it.
�We are deeply concerned that some countries are not approaching this threat with the level of political commitment needed to control it,� WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told diplomats in Geneva, according to a statement.
Following an overnight slump, the Sydney market tumbled 7.4 per cent on Thursday to suffer its worst session since the 2008 global financial crisis. Tokyo closed down 4.4 per cent, putting it in a bear market after slumping more than 20 per cent from a recent high.
Hong Kong shed 3.7 per cent, though Shanghai was off 1.5 per cent as China continues to see infection rates slow. Manila crashed nearly 10 per cent � sparking a brief trading halt � after it emerged Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte would undergo a precautionary test for the virus.
In the Gulf, Saudi dumped 3.0 per cent in value, Dubai tumbled 8.0 per cent and Qatar shed 4.5 per cent.
�Taking the view that the (US) President�s travel ban has only further heightened the likelihood of a global recession... investors fled,� said Connor Campbell, market analyst at Spreadex trading group.
The carnage on stock markets spread to Europe, with losses accelerating in Paris and Frankfurt, which both fell more than 10 per cent after the ECB unveiled a series of measures to shore up the eurozone economy, but it did not lower interest rates like central banks elsewhere.
The European Central Bank ramped up its super-cheap bank lending programme, vowing to �support bank lending to those affected most by the spread of the coronavirus, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises�, as well as spend an additional 120 billion euros ($135 billion euros) this year buying up government and corporate bonds.
On Wall Street, the stocks resumed their slide lower. The Dow tumbled 7.4 per cent in the first minute of trading, having fallen 5.9 per cent on Wednesday.
The coronavirus outbreak has left virtually no sector untouched, though travel and tourism have been particularly hard-hit as countries institute travel bans and quarantine requirements, with Italy in a country-wide lockdown.
The coronavirus market crash has wiped off $11.3 trillion from global valuations as of the end of Wednesday, according to Howard Silverblatt, a senior analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
The number of coronavirus cases across the globe has risen to more than 126,000 with 4,600 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Elsewhere on Thursday, oil prices were hammered, with benchmark Brent North Sea crude losing more than seven per cent, as the travel restrictions will further dampen energy demand. � AFP