Oil prices tumble as gold soars on pandemic fears
By Daisy Okanga | World stock markets and oil prices tumbled Monday on growing fears of a coronavirus pandemic.
Milan and Seoul off being the newest cases came up, while gold hit a seven-year peak on safe-haven buying, dealers told alpha-fetoprotein (AFP).
In afternoon trading, Milan’s stock market was more than five percent lower following reports of a fifth death in Italy amid the COVID-19 epidemic.
In Lombardy, northern Italy, villages have been sealed off and security measures enforced to stem the spread of the disease.
Traders’ screens flashed red elsewhere in Europe too, with Frankfurt falling 4.3 percent, London losing 3.9 percent, Madrid down 4.1 percent and Paris shedding 4.3 percent.
As trading began in New York, the Dow Jones index was off by 3.4 percent.
Brent oil prices slumped 4.6 percent as the burgeoning crisis caused worries about global energy demand.
Conversely, on the London bullion market gold spiked to $1,689.31 per ounce, a level last seen in January 2013, before easing back to $1,684.00 as investors snapped up the precious metal as a safety measure amid the market turbulence.
Seoul stocks shed 3.9 percent as South Korea announced a surge in coronavirus infections, while Hong Kong erased 1.8 percent but shanghai retreated by only 0.3 percent.
Traders last week had been broadly optimistic that the virus which has killed nearly 2,600 and infected 80,000 was being contained outside China but a spurt of infections and deaths in other countries including south Korea, Italy and Iran has fanned fears of a global outbreak.