March 30, 2020 (MLN): World stock markets mostly tumbled and oil prices plunged Monday despite fresh Chinese and Australian stimulus to shore up an economy shattered by the coronavirus fallout.
Australia was out on its own — its stock market surging 7.0 percent as the country's virus infections slowed, while after the close of trade in Sydney the government unveiled an income-support plan worth US$80 billion.
Crude oil meanwhile struck the lowest levels in more than 17 years on Monday, with Brent North Sea tumbling to $22.58 per barrel at one point.
“Estimates for the (oil) demand side are being revised downwards on an almost daily basis, while on the supply side there is still no sign of any reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Russia” regarding their price war, Commerzbank said in a client note.
There are warnings that oil could sink even further as storage tanks around the world approach full capacity.
Elsewhere Monday, the dollar climbed across the board, while Asian stock markets mostly fell following Friday's steep drop on Wall Street and Europe.
Jubilation over last week's enormous US stimulus package has largely faded, with investors returning their attention to the soaring infection and death rate figures of the coronavirus.
US President Donald Trump on Friday signed off Washington's stimulus measures worth more than $2 trillion.
While the disease ravages populations and the global economy grinds to a halt with 40 percent of the planet in lockdown, experts are struggling to get a grip on the scale of the crisis that is forecast to cause a worldwide recession.
Analysts say there are likely more dark days ahead, with Trump abandoning his timetable for life returning to normal in the United States and extending emergency restrictions for another month.
The president said he expected the country to “be well on our way to recovery” by June 1 — dropping his previous target of mid-April.
Meanwhile, senior US scientist Anthony Fauci issued a tentative prediction that COVID-19 could claim up to 200,000 lives in the US.
Governments and central banks have acted to shore up the global economy, pledging around $5 trillion in stimulus support, with China on Monday joining the party by lowering bank borrowing costs and pumping billions of dollars into financial markets, while Singapore also eased rates.
AxiCorp's Stephen Innes said markets looked like they were “nearing policy fatigue where it becomes less effective, and as the surprise element diminishes, no one cares”.
“So, while policy responses in the US and Europe have been spectacular… the coronavirus keeps spreading globally, deepening fears of the economic and financial impact across countries. More market turmoil likely lies ahead.”
He also pointed out that with the corporate reporting season approaching “now we are about to enter a vortex of bad earnings, bad economic data, and bankruptcies”.
Measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak will slash the German 2020 economic output before a rebound next year, a panel of economists who advise the government said Monday.
“The big question for markets is whether the huge stimulus introduced so far across the globe will be enough to help the global economy withstand the economic shock from the COVID-19 containment measures,” said National Australia Bank's Rodrigo Catril.
“To answer this question one needs to know the magnitude of the containment measures and for how long they will be implemented. This is the big unknown and it suggests markets are likely to remain volatile until this uncertainty is resolved.”