Asian stocks fall as US imposes EU travel ban

Beijing, March 12 (IANS) Asian stocks traded sharply lower on Thursday after US President Donald Trump restricted travel to the US from mainland Europe in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
In an address to the nation from the Oval Office on Wednesday night, Trump announced the ban on travellers from 26 European countries entering the US for 30 days, starting on Friday, in order to fight the coronavirus outbreak, the BBC reported.
Trump however, said that the restrictions did not apply to the UK.
He also announced financial relief for US workers who are ill, quarantined or caring for others due to the illness. The emergency action will also see the US Treasury Department deferring tax payments without interest or penalties for certain businesses and individuals affected.
As a result of the announcement, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 closed 4.4 per cent lower on Thursday, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 3.6 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite was down by 1.9 per cent.
In the Indian equity market, the Sensex was trading on Thursday at 33,188.01, lower by 2,509.39 or 7.03 per cent from its previous close of 35,697.40.
Earlier, US stock indexes closed sharply lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 5.8 per cent, the S&P 500 down 4.9 per cent, and the Nasdaq 4.7 per cent lower, reports the BBC.
It means the Dow was now 20 per cent below its recent high, pushing it into what is known as a ‘bear market’. This brings to an end the longest-ever streak of gains for US stocks, which started in 2009.
As of Thursday, the overall coronavirus death toll in the Chinese mainland was 3,169, with a total of 80,793 cases.
Globally, there were 123,825 confirmed cases, with 4,620 fatalities.

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