Stocks, oil, and bitcoin plunge as US lawmakers fight over coronavirus rescue package
- Stocks, oil, Treasury yields, and bitcoin slumped on Monday as investors feared US lawmakers would act too slowly to counteract the novel coronavirus pandemic.
- Democrats vetoed Republicans' $1.3 trillion stimulus bill in the Senate, arguing it does too little to aid individuals.
- Just after lunchtime, the JSE's all share index was down 4%, with the rand weak at R17.68/$.
- "There is no escape from the heavy recession knocking on the door," one analyst said.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Stocks, oil, Treasury yields, and bitcoin tumbled on Monday after US lawmakers failed to agree on a rescue package to combat the economic fallout from the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Just after lunchtime, the JSE's all share index was down 4%, with the rand weak at R17.68/$. Sasol was down another 20% to R21.88, while the property group Redefine lost a quarter of its value to 163c.
Confirmed cases across the US ballooned to 32 000 on Sunday, a 10-fold rise in the space of a week. Senate Democrats blocked Republicans' $1.3 trillion stimulus bill on Sunday night, arguing that it doesn't do enough to help individuals. Republican Sen. Rand Paul also revealed that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, leading other lawmakers to self-isolate and boosting the odds of further delays.
The virus - which causes a flu-like disease called Covid-19 - has infected more than 336 000 people, killed at least 14 000, and spread to upwards of 150 countries. The outbreak has disrupted international supply chains, forced businesses to temporarily close and fire thousands of workers, and spurred governments to lock down their populations to reduce transmission. Numerous banks are predicting a global recession this year as a result.
"Global equities continue falling into a bottomless pit as the coronavirus death toll rises, bringing along more travel restrictions and lockdowns across the globe," Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank, said in a morning note.
"There is no escape from the heavy recession knocking on the door," she added.
Other analysts called for legislators to settle their disputes before it's too late.
"Politicians should stop bickering about their differences and do what is right for the public," Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade, said in a morning note.
"If affairs start to get out of control, the market sell-off will be profoundly uglier than any of the previous crises," he added.
Here's the market roundup as of 9:52 a.m. in London (5:52 a.m. in New York):
- European equities slumped, with Germany's DAX down 3.6%, Britain's FTSE 100 down 4.4%, and the Euro Stoxx 50 down 3.4%.
- Asian indexes tumbled, with China's Shanghai Composite down 3.1%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng down 5.1%, and South Korea's KOSPI down 5.3%. Japan's Nikkei rose 2%.
- US stocks are set to slide after futures hit their downward limit on Sunday night. Futures underlying the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq were down between 2.4% and 3%.
- Oil prices dropped, with West Texas Intermediate down 0.4% at $22.60 a barrel and Brent crude down 4.8% at $25.70.
- The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield fell to 0.82%.
- Gold rose 0.8% to $1,496.
- Bitcoin dropped about 8% to around $5,800.
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