Caixin
Mar 09, 2020 09:01 PM
SOCIETY & CULTURE

Coronavirus Live Updates (Monday): U.S. Stocks Plunge Triggers Circuit Breaker; Europe Urged to Apply ‘Massive Shock Therapy’

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Monday, March 9, 11.59 p.m.

U.S. stocks plunged 7% on coronavirus fears Monday shortly after markets opened, triggering a circuit breaker installed after the 2008 financial crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 2,000 points. The New York Stock Exchange halted trading for 15 minutes. The next circuit breaker would trip if the market fell 13%.

The market now expects the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates all the way to zero in the face of the global coronavirus outbreak and the dramatic selloff in oil and global stocks.

According to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s FedWatch Tool, the probability that the Fed would cut the rates as low as zero during next week’s meeting is 71%. The last and only time rates were at zero was during the financial crisis.

Crude tumbled the most since the Gulf War in 1991 after Russia refused to go along with OPEC’s proposal to rescue the coronavirus-battered oil market by further cutting production and Saudi Arabia launched a price war against Russia. West Texas Intermediate and Brent prices for crude oil crashed as much as 34% before paring some losses and remaining down more than 20%.

Europe

Italy’s prime minister promised “massive shock therapy” Monday to beat the coronavirus and urged Europe to act decisively after markets plunged and his country locked down much of its wealthy industrial north.

France echoed Giuseppe Conte’s call for action, saying Europe must come up with a “strong, massive and coordinated response” and euro zone finance ministers, meeting next week, must decide on a stimulus plan to avoid economic crisis.

Spain’s government has prepared an emergency plan to deal with the economic consequences of the coronavirus, which it plans to launch shortly, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Monday. He didn’t provide details.

Iran

Iran released about 70,000 prisoners because of the coronavirus, judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi said Monday, according to Mizan, the news site of the judiciary. Iran has reported 7,161 cases and 237 deaths, the third-highest toll after China and Italy.

Compiled by Denise Jia

Monday, March 9, 7 p.m.

Financial markets around the world on Monday reacted strongly to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, as its global spread accelerates while the rate of new infections appears to stabilize in China.

In Europe, major stock markets tanked as global investors braced for the spread of Covid-19, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 dropping 6.8% in early trading.

Asian markets saw similar turbulence. In China, a gauge of stocks in Shanghai and Shenzhen fell 2.1% as trading opened, led by oil producers. An index of Chinese shares traded in Hong Kong dropped 4.3%, its biggest loss on a closing basis in two years.

Adding to the financial jitters are plunging oil prices after a dramatic breakdown of talks between OPEC and Russia on how to manage the world’s oil supply.

The stock market rout has driven many investors towards safe-haven assets such as gold. Gold prices rose above the $1,700 (link in Chinese) per ounce level after markets opened on Monday for the first time in more than seven years. The price of gold has risen to around $1,700 an ounce from about $1,560 an ounce on Jan. 20, when Chinese authorities first confirmed human-to-human transmission of the virus.

As of Monday evening, at least 103 countries and regions outside China had reported more than 30,000 infections, including 748 deaths, according to Caixin’s calculations based on government data and media reports.

• Coronavirus infection numbers are now rapidly rising across Europe. As of Sunday night, Italian health authorities reported 7,375 cases, including 1,492 new cases that day. Deaths in the country rose to 366.

In France, the caseload stood at 1,126 as of Sunday afternoon local time, after an additional 177 new cases were reported that day.

In Germany, the caseload climbed past 1,000 to 1,112 as of Monday morning, with an addition of 265 new cases. In the U.K., a total of 278 people had been confirmed with the virus by the end of Sunday.

Following a lockdown in northern Italy, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz predicted that (link in Chinese) it would only be a matter of time until more European countries adopt similarly aggressive measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

• The U.S. reported at least 539 cases across 34 states and the District of Columbia, including 22 deaths as of Monday morning, The New York Times reported.

• In South Korea, the hardest hit country outside China, the virus’ spread appears to be slowing down (link in Chinese). On Sunday, the Asian country reported 248 new cases, the first time the daily increase fell below 300 since Feb. 26. And on Monday, from midnight to 4 p.m., the country reported only 96 new cases, bringing the country’s caseload to 7,478.

In other coronavirus-related news

• Another doctor in Wuhan has succumbed (link in Chinese) to the coronavirus. Zhu Heping, a colleague of whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang, is the fourth doctor at Wuhan Central Hospital to die from Covid-19.

• The Chinese government will donate $20 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) to support international cooperation in the fight against Covid-19, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Monday (link in Chinese). The money will be used to help developing countries control the spread of the coronavirus and develop public health systems, Geng said.

• As of Sunday afternoon, the collapse of a hotel being used as an isolation facility in Quanzhou, Fujian province, has led to at least 12 deaths with many still trapped in the rubble, according to local authorities.

Compiled by Mo Yelin

Caixin’s coverage of the new coronavirus

1

Monday, March 9, 10 a.m.

• The situation in China continues showing signs of stabilizing. According to the latest official data (link in Chinese), 40 new infections were reported on the Chinese mainland on Sunday, including 36 from Wuhan, capital of Hubei province at the outbreak’s epicenter. The other four were imported cases in Gansu province. In other words, the mainland outside Wuhan and Gansu reported zero new cases on Sunday.

Twenty-three additional fatalities were reported on Sunday, including one in Hong Kong, bringing the total death toll to 3,123 in China. By the end of Sunday, China had confirmed 80,904 infections.

• A total of 58,600 people on the mainland had officially recovered from the disease, or about 72% of all cases.

• As of the end of Sunday, there were 421 suspected cases on the mainland, including 60 reported on Sunday.

• In Hong Kong, there were 114 confirmed cases of people with the virus at the end of Sunday (link in Chinese). Five of those were linked to a tour to India last month, including two confirmed on Sunday. The importation of cases related to a country not thought to have serious epidemic conditions has led to concerns among experts and authorities.

Hong Kong announced that starting Sunday, mandatory health declarations for passengers arriving at Hong Kong International Airport will be extended from flights arriving from the Chinese mainland to all flights.

In other coronavirus-related news:

As of Monday morning, at least 98 countries and regions outside China had reported more than 28,000 infections, including 704 deaths, according to Caixin’s calculations based on government data and media reports.

• Italy reported a total of 7,375 cases, putting it on track to surpass South Korea’s caseload that stood at 7,382 by Monday morning. Italy is reporting new cases far faster than South Korea, including nearly 1,500 new cases on Saturday alone, Reuters reported. By comparison, South Korea added just 69 new cases on Monday, Reuters said. Until now South Korea has been the world’s worst stricken country after China.

• The U.S. has reported nearly 550 cases of infection, including 22 deaths.

Compiled by Mo Yelin

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