The Swiss stock market suffered extremely heavy losses on Monday due to a combination of coronavirus fears and falling oil prices.
Stock markets around the world plunged on Monday and oil prices tumbled by as much as a third after Saudi Arabia launched a price war with Russia, sending investors already scared by the coronavirus outbreak fleeing for the safety of bonds and the Japanese yen.
At the end of Monday, the Swiss Market Index (SMI) had fallen by 5.55% to 9,196.6 points compared to the previous day of trading.
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“The last ten trading sessions rank among the most tumultuous in history,” UBS analysts said in a market commentary.
“The fear of the coronavirus, which is also paralysing the economy in Europe and the USA, is now also affecting companies,” said the St. Gallen Cantonal Bank in a separate statement.
The Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) said Monday had been the biggest fall on the SMI since 1988 – bigger even than the 9/11 crash.
Elsewhere, major European stock markets dived more than 7%, Japanese indexes fell by over 5% and US markets sank over 7% after Saudi Arabia launched an oil price war with Russia. Saudi Arabia's grab for market share was reminiscent of a drive in 2014 that sent prices down by about two-thirds, while the renewed plunge on Wall Street came exactly 11 years after US stocks touched bottom during the financial crisis.
Brent and US crude futures slid $14 a barrel to as low as $31.02 and $27.34 in volatile trade.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1,280.4 points, or 4.95%, to 24,584.38. The S&P 500 lost 143.44 points, or 4.83%, to 2,828.93 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 372.11 points, or 4.34%, to 8,203.51.
Equity markets in Frankfurt and Paris tumbled about 8.5% and London tanked 12%. Italy's main index slumped almost 15% after the government over the weekend ordered a lockdown of large parts of the north of the country, including the financial capital, Milan.
The spread of the global coronavirus epidemic is also weighing heavily on investor sentiment. Worldwide, over 114,300 cases of infection have been recorded in 111 countries and territories, causing the death of 4,026 people, according to a Reuters tally.
Switzerland, meanwhile, recorded a second death on Sunday due to Covid-19, a 76-year-old man in poor health. The number of infections crossed the 300 mark on Monday.