European stocks set to sink again as virus deaths mount

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© Reuters. The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt© Reuters. The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

(Reuters) – European stock index futures fell to near eight-year lows on Monday after several countries expanded measures to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, with Italy banning even domestic travel as the number of fatalities there topped 5,400.

Euro Stoxx 50 futures () fell 4.4%, after attempting a rebound on Friday as global policymakers announced another wave of stimulus to cushion the economic blow from the pandemic.

The relentless spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has forced entire countries to self-isolate and brought economic activity to a grinding halt, driving the biggest global market sell-off since the 2008 financial crash.

German DAX futures () sank another 4.1% after two straight days of gains, while FTSE 100 futures () and French futures () were down 4.2% and 5.0%, respectively.

“Risk aversion appears here to stay as investors become more fearful that this could be the worst global recession during peacetime,” Edward Moya, a senior market analyst at broker OANDA.

“Volatility was supposed to start to calm down as central banks unleashed … liquidity programs and stimulus, but coronavirus updates in Europe and the U.S. continue to suggest we are nowhere near being out of the woods.”

The benchmark STOXX 600 () has lost more than 30% – or $4 trillion – in value from record highs hit last month, as the epicenter of the outbreak shifted to Italy from China, while Europe’s fear gauge () is at levels last seen in 2008.

With growing evidence of the corporate damage from paralyzed supply chains and an consumer spending, analysts have suggested the global economy was already in recession.

With air travel at a virtual standstill due to the pandemic, planemaker Airbus (PA:) announced new steps on Monday to bolster its financial position, including the signing of a credit facility for 15 billion euros ($16.1 billion).

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