Inventories and the drop in oil amid a new variant of the coronavirus
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West Texas Intermediate oil futures, the benchmark for U.S. crude, fell more than 13% to $ 68.04 a barrel, the lowest since early September. The price of oil has been particularly sensitive to virus restrictions that keep people at home. The drop comes just three days after the United States and five other countries announced a coordinated effort to dip into their national oil stocks, in an attempt to bring down gas prices.
Futures on Brent, the European benchmark, fell 11% to around $ 73 a barrel. But Mr Ganesh said UBS expects the price to rise to $ 90 a barrel by March, in part in hopes that fears over further virus restrictions will be temporary.
Demand for the relative safety of government bonds surged, pushing their prices up and their yields down. The 10-year US Treasury yield plunged 15 basis points, or 0.15 percentage point, to 1.48%, the largest single-day decline since March 2020. The yield on the German Bund, the Europe’s benchmark bond fell 9 basis points to minus 0.34 percent.
Echoing the market swings of the past year, stocks that have thrived under lockdowns and quarantines have risen, including Zoom and Peloton. Companies vulnerable to travel restrictions, like Carnival, the cruise line, and Boeing, the aircraft maker, have fallen.
In Asia, the Nikkei 225 in Japan closed down 2.5% and the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was down 2.7%.
In Europe, energy stocks led the markets down. The Stoxx Europe 600 index closed down 3.7%. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 3.6%, while major stock indexes in France and Spain fell around 5%.
As several countries, including Britain and France, have rushed to restrict flights from South Africa and other African countries, airline stocks have plummeted. IAG, the parent company of British Airways, fell almost 15%, the biggest drop in the FTSE 100.
“This further drop in confidence is the latest setback the industry needed given it already faces bottlenecks in Europe,” wrote Susannah Streeter, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. “It will take a lot more than a discounted ticket to calm nerves and restore optimism.”
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