Pandemic fears: Asia stocks dive, dollar soars

Asian markets initially tumbled as investors contemplate months of economic hardship


Afp March 20, 2020
Asian stocks. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG: Asian equities sank again Thursday while the dollar surged as a European Central Bank plan to spend more than $800 billion to buy bonds failed to instil optimism in traders who fear that the world is heading for a virus-fuelled economic catastrophe.

In what one analyst said could be a “game changer” for the coronavirus-wracked eurozone, the ECB’s so-called Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme aims to give financial markets some much-needed liquidity as investors pull the plug on markets. After announcing the move, ECB boss Christine Lagarde tweeted that “extraordinary times require extraordinary action. There are no limits to our commitment to the euro.”

Asian markets initially climbed on the news but soon tumbled as investors contemplate months of economic hardship with countries around the world in lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which has now infected more than 200,000 people and killed almost 9,000.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2020.

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