LONDON (Reuters) – World shares sank to their lowest in seven weeks on Monday, dragged down by a plunge in Asian stocks on their first trading day after a long break on fears the coronavirus epidemic would hit demand in China.
Aiming to head off any panic, the Chinese government took steps to shore up an economy hit by travel curbs and business shut-downs because of the virus.
Despite the support, Chinese shares were deep in the red, with the blue-chip index stumbling 7.8% to a 4-1/2 month trough. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index lost $420 billion of its value while the yuan opened at its weakest level in 2020, sliding past the symbolic 7-per-dollar level.
MSCI’s All Country World Index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was down 0.2% on the day, and at its lowest since Dec. 16.
European shares bucked the broader trend however, opening a tad higher as investors were relieved that the UK had finally exited the EU, although ongoing fears over the virus dampened enthusiasm….
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