Fears about the spreading coronavirus epidemic have continued to cause global markets to tumble.
Global stock markets have tumbled as disruptions to business from the spreading coronavirus epidemic worsened, stoking fears of a prolonged economic slowdown.
European shares opened sharply lower on Friday, with travel stocks bearing the brunt. The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 2.4 per cent by 0856 GMT (1956 AEDT).
Germanys DAX slid 2.4 per cent, Britains FTSE 100 fell 1.8 per cent and Frances CAC 40 fell 2.4 per cent.
The MSCI All-Country World Index, which tracks shares across 47 countries, was down 0.72 per cent.
After marking their worst weekly performance since the 2008 financial crisis, global stocks as measured by the index are up 1.7 per cent this week, as sentiment recovered on the back of stimulus from policymakers to combat the economic fallout of the virus.
The US Federal Reserve made an emergency interest rate cut of 50 basis points earlier this week. The Bank of Canada and the Reserve Bank of Australia also cut rates, with investors expecting other major central banks to soon follow suit.
Officials and companies in Britain, France, Italy and the United States are struggling to deal with a steady rise in virus infections that have in some cases triggered corporate defaults, office evacuations and panic buying of daily necessities.
Yields on US Treasuries fell to a record low and Treasury futures jumped as investors increased bets the Fed will follow this weeks surprise rate cut with further easing.
The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes fell to a record low of 0.7650 per cent on Friday.
Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari said late on Thursday the Fed could cut rates further if needed.
Rapidly falling yields hammered the US dollar, which fell to a six-month low versus the yen and close to a two-year trough against the Swiss franc.
Germanys benchmark 10-year Bund yield fell to a six-month low within striking distance of last years record lows.
Many investors were awaiting the release of US non-farm payrolls later on Friday. Recent US economic data has been encouraging, but concerns about the epidemic are likely to overshadow any signs of a strong labour market.
Earlier in Asia, MSCIs broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 2.1 per cent, while Japans Nikkei stock index sank 2.94 per cent. Australian shares were down 2.44 per cent.
Shares in China fell 1.22 per cent, while stocks in Hong Kong, another city hard hit by the virus, fell 2.12 per cent.
Against the Japanese yen, the dollar fell to a six-month low and was last at 105.77 yen. The greenback also sank to a two-year trough of 0.9410 Swiss franc.
Sterling traded near a one-week high versus the US dollar.
The euro gained 0.3 per cent to trade $USUS1.1271. Markets in the euro zone are pricing in a 93 per cent chance that the European Central Bank will cut its deposit rate, now minus 0.50 per cent, by 10 basis points next week.
The single currency has now reversed its earlier losses for the year, rising from below $USUS1.08 a few weeks ago to above $USUS1.12.
Oil prices also fell due to worries that non-OPEC oil producers might not agree to output cuts even though global energy demand is weakening.
US crude fell 1.63 per cent to $USUS45.15 a barrel, while Brent fell 1.8 per cent to $USUS49.10, with worries about a decline in global demand due to the virus outbreak and uncertainty about production cuts hurting prices.
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