Millennium Post

Global stock markets on edge after ECB's fireworks

London: World stock markets faltered again on Thursday as massive central bank action to fight the coronavirus's economic fallout failed to calm investors' nerves, even as the ECB fired its most impressive monetary salvo yet.

Bond markets however, where governments and big companies finance themselves, got a shot in the arm from the European Central Bank's enormous liquidity promise, which also undermined the euro against the dollar.

The greenback, a safe haven investment, was in demand also against other currencies as people scrambled for cash.

"Markets are in risk-averse mode," said Christopher Dembik, head of economic research at Saxo Banque in Paris.

Investors were now expecting a global recession "of a singular size", he told AFP, adding that solace was nowhere to be found "even if enormous means are being deployed".

The pound was stuck around its lowest levels since the mid-1980s.

Falls in equity markets were, meanwhile, less severe than in previous sessions, with the DJIA in New York losing just over one percent shortly after the the opening bell.

Losses in Europe and Asia were also relatively limited as investors eyed the ECB's 820-billion plan to stem the economic damage from the COVID-19 crisis.

Investors have seen "the European Central Bank calm markets, at least for now, with their stimulus package", Scope Markets analyst James Hughes told AFP.

The so-called Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme came six days after the ECB unveiled a big-bank stimulus package that failed to calm nervous markets and had piled pressure on the bank to open the cash floodgates.

After announcing the move, ECB boss Christine Lagarde tweeted that "extraordinary times require extraordinary action". analyst Neil Wilson said the ECB action "looks more like a bazooka than anything they've done thus far".

Asia stocks initially climbed on the ECB's midnight announcement but soon tumbled as investors contemplate months of economic hardship.

The ECB's bazooka was the latest in a string of measures by central banks and governments aimed at supporting the global economy, which have amounted to almost 2 trillion.

Oil prices rebounded, but the gains did little to overturn massive losses Wednesday, which saw WTI lose around a quarter of its value.

Oil markets have been hammered by collapsing demand as the virus prompts sweeping travel restrictions and business closures, compounding a price war between key producers Saudi Arabia and Russia.

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 1.3 percent at 5,013.82 points Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.8 percent at 8,376.74 Paris - CAC 40: FLAT at 3,753.50

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.1 percent at 2,387.77 New York - Dow: DOWN 1.1 percent at 19,682.40 Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.0 percent at 16,552.83 (close) Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 3.3 percent at 22,548.65 Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.4 percent at 2,691.71 Brent North Sea crude: UP 3.0 percent at 25.62 per barrel West Texas Intermediate: UP 7.8 percent at 22.44 Dollar/yen: UP at 109.80 yen from 109.09 yen at 2100 GMT Euro/dollar: DOWN at 1.0796 from 1.0991 Pound/dollar: DOWN at 1.1596 from 1.1629 Euro/pound: DOWN at 93.09 pence from 93.97 burs.

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