In Brief

‘Black Monday’ panic as global markets crash

Oil price experiences biggest decline since 1991 Gulf War slump before closing 20% down

Markets around the world dropped precipitously yesterday on fears of a global recession prompted by the coronavirus outbreak and on an oil price war between Opec and Russia. Losses were the worst since the 2008 financial crisis and yesterday was dubbed “Black Monday”.

In London, the FTSE 100 had dropped by nearly 8% at the close of trading, while in the US the main indexes were down by more than 7%. The main stock markets in continental Europe also closed around 7% down – and they followed a pattern set earlier by Asian traders.

The US markets fell so steeply when trading opened yesterday morning that they were automatically suspended for 15 minutes when a “circuit-breaker” came into effect, designed to halt panic selling.

The fall in London meant the country’s top firms were worth around £125bn less at the close of trading than they had been yesterday morning, notes the BBC.

The price of Brent crude oil plummeted by almost 33% before recovering a little to close 20% down. It was the worst oil price crash since the 1991 Gulf War. The slump came after Russia rejected an Opec proposal to cut supply to cope with the lower demand prompted by the coronavirus outbreak.

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