Reeling from COVID-19 2nd Wave: Stocks Slump as Europe’s Corona Death-Toll is up 40%

Written by | Friday, October 30th, 2020

The death toll from COVID-19 in Europe rose 40% last week, in a sign hospitals are struggling to cope, the World Health Organisation (WTO) said Tuesday (27 October). In France, Spain, The Netherlands and Russia, “we’re seeing an intense and indeed alarming increase in cases and deaths,” a WHO spokeswoman said, warning that “intensive care units in hospitals are now beginning to fill with very ill people.” Against this backdrop, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, is reportedly expected to impose a new four-week national lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus. Macron is due to make a televised address on Wednesday (28 October) evening after large swathes of France, including Paris, have been placed under a night-time curfew, but officials say this has not been enough to stop the virus.
Also British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly under pressure to implement a new lockdown, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel has not hidden her deep concern about the swiftly increasing coronavirus infection rates in the country. On Wednesday, the chancellor will meet the premiers of Germany’s 16 states in a video conference to discuss the situation. In almost pleading tones, the chancellor used her video podcast at the weekend to call upon Germans to keep their distance from each other, reduce all contact and stop traveling. On Tuesday, the country’s recorded 11,400 new cases — one of the highest daily counts since the pandemic began. In Switzerland, where cases have been rising sharply since early October, the government has reported 8,616 new coronavirus infections and 24 more deaths. Also Poland has become the latest European country to set a new daily record for COVID-19 infections, with 18,820 new cases and 236 deaths reported.
Meanwhile, as France and Germany are reportedly about to impose strict new anti-COVID-19 measures, losses accelerated across European stock markets on Wednesday, with the benchmark STOXX 600 tumbling to its lowest level since late May. “Global markets look incredibly nervous, the mix of rising COVID-19 cases and deaths and the potential full lockdown in France, add this to the uncertainty ahead of the US elections and you have a very poor backdrop,” said John Woolfitt, director of trading at Atlantic Capital Markets. Economically sensitive sectors such as carmakers, banks and insurers led declines, falling between 3.9-4.4%. “I don’t expect this to be long-term, but nervousness will continue until elections are done and some form of steadying in the COVID-19 numbers.”

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