European shares plummeted to 2012 lows on Monday as the coronavirus pandemic raged through Europe, with dramatic monetary easing by global central banks failing to reassure investors about its growing economic damage.
Airlines and holiday operators including TUI (TUIT.L), EasyJet (EZJ.L), British-Airways owner IAG (ICAG.L) and Air France – KLM (AIRF.PA) were among the biggest decliners on the STOXX 600 as the pandemic brought global travel to a standstill.
The wider travel and leisure index .SXTP plunged more than 14%. Europe’s fear gauge .V2TX jumped to a record high of 91.78.
“Everyone’s just looking at the measures taken in terms of limiting (social) activity, which is currently outweighing any stimulus,” said Bas van Geffen, an ECB analyst at Rabobank.
“Even though they are providing as much liquidity as they can, we are currently seeing a supply shock that is hindering production. And we’re seeing consumers less willing to spend or even, with shops being closed, they can’t spend.”
The U.S. Federal Reserve slashed interest rates to near zero in its second emergency move in two weeks and pledged hundreds of billions of dollars in asset purchases, saying the epidemic was having a “profound” impact on the economy.
Central banks in Japan, Australia and New Zealand followed with their own measures but could not stem a slide in global stocks. S&P 500 futures ESCv1 fell 4.77% to their daily down limit shortly after resuming trading on Sunday night.
The benchmark European index has now lost more than a third of its value since hitting a record high in mid-February, with declines made worse by a crash in oil prices and the European Central Bank’s decision to hold interest rates last week.
The latest economic data from China showed factory production plunging at its fastest pace in 30 years. That re-ignited fears of a global recession as the pandemic paralyses supply chains and crushes business sentiment.
Europe’s banking index .SX7P fell about 10.6% to a record low.
Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) plummeted 13% to an all-time low after a report that U.S. prosecutors were investigating the bank’s role in a $2 billion Mozambique corruption case.
All eyes will now be on a Group of Seven teleconference at 1400 GMT to discuss the health crisis. – Reuters