October 29, 2020: Asian markets sank Thursday after a meltdown in New York and Europe sparked by France reimposing a nationwide lockdown to battle a new wave of virus infections, with fears other major economies could follow suit.
With sentiment already dampened by US lawmakers' failure to pass a new stimulus and election uncertainty, the news out of Paris was the last thing investors wanted to hear as the recovery from this year's global financial rout was already stuttering.
France's President Emmanuel Macron's decision to shut down the country for a month came as Germany said it would impose drastic new curbs as experts warned hospitals would soon be overwhelmed.
The moves followed weeks of exponentially rising new infections across Europe that have forced governments across the continent to put containment measures in place, with warnings that Britain could be next.
The announcements pummelled European markets with Frankfurt diving more than four percent and Paris more than three percent. All three major indexes on Wall Street fell more than three percent as equities suffered one of their worst sessions since the dark days of February-March.
In early trade, Hong Kong, Sydney, Seoul and Manila were all down more than one percent.
Tokyo, Shanghai, Taipei and Singapore were all off around 0.7 percent while there were also losses in Wellington.
“Market sentiment is turning, with investors buffeted by US election uncertainty and now economic worries from rising Covid-19 cases across Europe, sparking concerns that measures to control the virus will hamper economic activity,” said Kerry Craig at JP Morgan Asset Management.