European Stocks Staring At Gap-down Opening Amid Virus Fears

European stocks may fall sharply at open on Monday as the coronavirus outbreak reached more countries and data showed China’s exports contracted sharply in the first two months of the year, deepening a global market rout.

So far, 3,825 have died and 110,034 have been infected globally in the COVID-19 outbreak. Around one in every five people who catch COVID-19 needs hospital treatment, the World Health Organization said.

China’s exports and imports both plunged over the first two months of the year due to the virus impact, customs data showed.

Exports shrank by 17.2 percent in January and February combined, down from
7.9 percent growth in December. Imports dropped an annual 4 percent, down from 16.5 percent growth in December.

Elsewhere, Japan’s GDP shrank an annualized 7.1 percent from the previous quarter in October to December, revised data showed today, adding pressure on policymakers to deploy stronger fiscal and monetary support to underpin a fragile economic recovery.

Stock markets plunged around Asia, while the Japanese yen soared on safe-haven demand. Gold prices jumped past the $1,700 per ounce level for the first time since late 2012, while oil prices crashed more than 30 percent amid an all-out price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Saudi Arabia slashed its official prices by the most in at least 20 years over the weekend and laid out a plan to increase production. Russia said its companies were free to pump as much as they could.

The European Central Bank holds its rate-setting meeting on Thursday, with economists expecting further stimulus to help the economy cope with consequences of the coronavirus outbreak.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to deliver another 25 basis points of easing at its scheduled policy meeting on March 18.

Industrial production and foreign trade figures from Germany as well as
Eurozone Sentix investor confidence survey results are due later in the session.

U.S. stocks tumbled on Friday as mounting concerns over the spread of coronavirus cases overshadowed an outstanding jobs report showing much stronger than expected job growth in February and a drop in the unemployment rate.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite plunged 1.9 percent and the S&P 500 gave up 1.7 percent.

European stocks crashed on Friday as the coronavirus outbreak continued to impact businesses worldwide and OPEC+ failed to reach an agreement on output cuts.

The pan European Stoxx 600 nosedived 3.7 percent. The German DAX plummeted 3.4 percent, France’s CAC 40 index slumped as much as 4.1 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 lost 3.6 percent.

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