US retail sales fell the most on record last month, while manufacturing output fell by the most in 74 years, raising fears of a deep recession. In Asia, growth will grind to zero for the first time in 60 years in 2020, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday, as exporters are pounded by slumping demand and anti-virus measures force consumers to stay home and shops to shut down. In Japan, where a Reuters survey showed most firms feel stimulus measures announced so far are insufficient, the Nikkei .N225 fell 1.3 percent.
E-mini futures for the S&P 500 ESc1 were 0.3 percent lower following a 2.2 percent drop on Wall Street overnight.
“It’s just a reminder of how deep the economic weakness has been,” said Paul Chew, head of research at Singapore brokerage Phillip Securities.
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FTSE 100 LIVE: Stocks slid as dire economic outlook weighs
7.35am update: ‘Just the beginning of painful few months’ – stark warning
David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets, offered a bleak economic outlook, saying: “As depressing as the economic indicators are, it feels like this is only the beginning of a painful few months ahead of us.
“The Beige book painted the US economy in an extremely negative light. Employment fell in all districts. The leisure, hospitality and non-essential retail sectors were the hardest hit. All districts reported very uncertain outlooks.”
7.28am update: FTSE 100 predictions
The FTSE 100 is set to start two points down 5,592 to 5,5955, according to CFD and spreadbetting firm IG Markets.
Global coronavirus death toll
7.08am update: China shares slide
China stocks fell on Thursday ahead of the release of first-quarter GDP data, which analysts widely expect will show the economy suffering its first quarterly contraction in nearly 30 years as the new coronavirus outbreak paralyses activity.
At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.2 percent to 2,806.46. The blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.4 percent.
CSI300’s financial sector sub-index fell 0.3 percent, the consumer staples sector was down 0.8 percent and the healthcare sub-index slipped 0.1 percent.
Chinese H-shares listed in Hong Kong fell 0.6 percent, while the Hang Seng Index was down 0.8 percent at 23,954.81.
6.18am update: Oil slump to outlast coronavirus impact, top Bank of Canada governor prospect says
The slump in global oil prices will outlast the coronavirus outbreak and could hammer the Canadian economy for years to come, a top prospect to become the next Bank of Canada governor said.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, along with Russia and other producing nations – known as OPEC+ – agreed over the weekend to cut supply to try to support prices.
It came after oil prices slumped to an 18-year low in March because of slowing demand tied to the coronavirus outbreak and a surge in production following a dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
“Even if the oil price war can be resolved, the collapse in global demand as a result of the pandemic suggests oil prices could be weaker for at least a few years,” said Tiff Macklem, a former senior deputy governor at the central bank and one of the names touted to be in the running to replace Governor Stephen Poloz, whose seven-year term ends in June.
“This oil price shock could certainly last longer than the virus,” Macklem told Reuters in recent comments.