Crude Crashes, Stocks Plunge, FX Sees Wild Moves: Markets Wrap

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(Bloomberg) — Oil prices crashed, equities plunged and currencies and bonds saw wild moves as panic appeared to grip financial markets in the aftermath of a full-blown price war in crude.Futures on the S&P 500 Index fell about 5%, triggering trading curbs. Japanese stocks sank 6% and futures on the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index tumbled over 7%. Exchange rates including the yen and Australian dollar saw sudden moves that showed traders struggling to establish where new trading ranges might be. Sovereign bond yields plumbed fresh lows, on mammoth moves including a tumble of more than a quarter percentage point for 10-year U.S. yields.Among the tumultuous moves to kick off the week:For the first time, the 10-year Treasury yield fell below 0.5% and the 30-year yield dropped under 1%Crude plummeted more than 30% at one point, sliding the most since the Gulf War in 1991Norway’s krone slid to its weakest against the dollar since the 1980s. Mexico’s peso fell more than 7%, to the weakest since the aftermath of border-wall advocate President Donald Trump taking officeAustralian and New Zealand 10-year government bond yields hit fresh record lowsThe yen climbed to its strongest since 2016The oil-price crash, if sustained, would upend politics around the world, exacerbate strains in U.S. high-yield credit and complicate the work of central bankers as they try to model the impact of the virus on economies. It would otherwise prove a boon to consumers, but the coronavirus is increasingly keeping them at home. Italy over the weekend effectively put its industrial heartland in the north of the country on lockdown.Economists are having to rewrite their forecasts before the ink dries on the previous set. Morgan Stanley is among those seeing a rising risk of a technical recession across major economies, with the second quarter set to see continuing disruption thanks to the epidemic. Central bank stimulus may help eventually, though the outbreak will need to be contained first.“You just don’t know which way things are going to go, it makes it very hard to price anything right now,” said Sarah Hunter, chief economist for BIS Oxford Economics, on Bloomberg TV. “We’re seeing that in the market with the wild oscillations that are coming through.”Here are some key events coming up:The European Central Bank’s policy decision comes Thursday amid expectations it may ease policy.The U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer unveils the government’s 2020 budget on Wednesday.The U.S. core consumer price index, due Wednesday, is expected to remain subdued in February.These are the main moves in markets:StocksFutures on the S&P 500 Index lost 4.9% as of 12:12 p.m. in Tokyo. The underlying gauge fell 1.7% on Friday.Japan’s Topix index declined 6.1%.Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index plunged 5.7%.Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 3.6%.Shanghai Composite lost 2.5%.Euro Stoxx 50 futures fell 6%.CurrenciesThe yen surged 2.8% to 102.48 per dollar.The euro bought $1.1391, up 1%.Mexican peso was down 7.2%.China’s offshore yuan was flat at 6.9316 per dollar.BondsThe yield on 10-year Treasuries dropped 26 basis points to 0.50%; 30-year yield was down 31 basis points at 0.97%.Australia’s 10-year yield retreated about eight basis points to 0.59%.CommoditiesWest Texas Intermediate crude sank 27% at $30.30 a barrel.Gold added 1.2% to $1,693.15 an ounce.–With assistance from Cormac Mullen and Nancy Moran.To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Haigh in Sydney at ahaigh1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Anstey at canstey@bloomberg.net, Andreea PapucFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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