Global stocks have lost at least $6 trillion in market value since Jan. 20 when the coronavirus outbreak first started becoming a concern for investors.
The decline accelerated this week as the spread of cases outside of China picked up pace, sparking a worldwide sell-off that led to six straight sessions of losses for stocks through Thursday.
Infections in South Korea have skyrocketed to more than 2,000 from less than 100 a week ago, while new cases in Italy and Iran have also seen a sharp up-tick and the global tally has topped 80,000.
With travel plans and conferences canceled, airlines grounded and even the Tokyo Olympic Games in doubt, economists are busily slashing their forecasts for company earnings and economic growth.
Bond markets are certainly screaming warnings of recession, with U.S. and German 10-year yields falling 20 basis points on the week, the latter hitting record lows. Even gold, that ultimate safe-haven, fell as traders scrambled to meet margin calls triggered by the big stock market slide.
Below are six aspects detailing the scale of the damage so far in financial markets.
1] EVERYBODY HURT
Almost every single stock index in the world has spiraled lower but developed markets have borne the brunt. Winners of the week were high-grade government bonds that benefited from the safety bid and rate cut expectations.
2] $6 TRILLION AND COUNTING...
A basket of nearly 7,000 stocks including developed, emerging and frontier markets have lost nearly $6 trillion or more than 10% of their value since Monday, according to Refinitiv DataStream.
3] BEARS PROWL
A 10% drop is deemed to bring a stock or index into correction territory while a 20% slump is a bear market. By that yardstick, almost 80% of South Korean shares, and more than half of Japanese and emerging market shares and a third of the German index have entered bear territory.
4] OIL SLICK
Fears of a demand collapse caused by recession are weighing heavily on commodities. Oil prices are headed for their steepest weekly fall in four years, and having fallen nearly a third from 2020-highs, are in a bear market too. Meanwhile, gold hovered near 7-year highs.
5] ATTENTION POWELL, LAGARDE & CO
Money markets are betting central banks will slash interest rates fast and frequently.
They now price a full 25 basis point U.S. Federal Reserve rate cut as soon as March, more than two rate reductions by June and more than three by September. The shift has halted the dollar's rise and its safe haven status.
The European Central Bank is forecast to reduce its minus 0.5% rate by 10 basis points as soon as June.
6] VOL SQUALL
Wall Street's fear gauge, the VIX index's closing high has spiked to levels last seen 2011 at the height of euro zone debt crisis while long dormant currency volatility is also stirring. That's bad news for traders who have been shorting low-yield currencies such as euro and Japanese yen because any rise in volatility can quickly wipe out these trades. That can send panicked investors scrambling to buy back those currencies.
This report uses material from the AP, Bloomberg and Reuters.
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