Thousands of couples attend a mass wedding held by the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, aka Unification Church despite the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus also known as Wuhan Coronavirus on February 7, 2020 in Gapyeong-gun, South Korea.

Woohae Cho | Getty Images

Stock markets around the world are selling off on Monday morning as spiking coronavirus cases in Italy, South Korea and the Middle East spark fears of further spread beyond China.

South Korea’s Kospi index closed down 3.9% while Italy’s FTSE MIB plunged more than 900 points in early trade.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 benchmark tumbled nearly 3%, with Britain’s FTSE 100, France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX all falling sharply.

Stateside, Dow futures were pointing to a loss of more than 400 points at Monday’s open, with futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq also falling.

“Regular readers will know that our four projected COVID-19 scenarios were ‘bad, worse, ugly, and unthinkable’,” Rabobank analysts said in a note Monday.

“Current news today suggests risks that the base case is rapidly shifting from ‘bad,’ meaning only China is impacted, to ‘ugly,’ where both emerging Asia and developed economies see soaring infection rates and deaths.”

A third person in Italy died on Sunday, with confirmed cases spiking by more than 130 since Friday. The Italian government has placed a dozen northern towns under quarantine and closed down schools, museums and cinemas. Public events including the Venice Carnival and several high-profile soccer matches have been cancelled.

South Korea’s government raised the coronavirus alert to its highest level after the number of confirmed cases escalated from 31 to 763 in less than a week, causing seven deaths, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Meanwhile, Iran has now reported 12 deaths and up to 61 cases cases, prompting schools and universities to close and a sealing of borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Kuwait and Bahrain have reported cases in people who visited Iran.

Oil prices were also tumbling, with Brent Crude futures down by around 3.2% to $56.65 per barrel and WTI shedding 2.9% to around $51.82 a barrel.

Traditional “safe-haven” assets were surging as investors ran for cover, with gold jumping another 1.5% to new seven-year highs of around $1,681 per troy ounce.

U.S. Treasury yields, which move inversely to price, also fell sharply, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note down at 1.3789% and the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond hitting an all-time low of 1.8314%.

Germany’s 10-year Bund yield fell by more than 14.5% to -0.4960%.



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