Bitcoin has lost $2,000 in minutes. Dow Jones is down 34% in the past two weeks. Gold is down too. Oil is at near all time low.
The market gains of the past four years have been wiped out, with Dow back to near 20,000, the same level as when Trump took power.
His decision to ban all travel to and from Europe is just one element rattling markets amid widespread suspension of economic activity.
Ireland and Denmark have now joined Italy in implementing a lockdown. Cases across Europe have reached more than 20,000. In Germany they’ve jumped to 2,000. In Italy, somewhat puzzlingly, deaths have reached near 1,000 compared to 3,000 for all of China.
Luigi di Maio, Italy’s foreign minister, is apparently close to China with it somewhat puzzling just how the situation escalated there so quickly when other countries were largely able to keep it under control by tracing.
In addition Germany is reporting ‘only’ 4 deaths even though more than 2,000 have been infected. One reason might be because they have 20,000 spare intensive care beds in Germany, while in Italy they are swamped.
In America more and more restrictive measures are being taken as they brace for a potential spike.
Seeing how quickly this got out of control in Italy is leading to considerably more caution in other countries, but the speed this went from nothing to a full blown crises is both worrying and maybe encouraging.
Worrying because it overwhelms the medical system, but encouraging because it seems to be affected by weather.
Italy had a cold spell in February, during which period this began to spread quickly. As the incubation period is 14 days, there would have been a lag, with it so getting out of hand to the point significant restrictions were needed.
With warmer weather its spread should slow considerably, thus the hope of everyone that this is temporary.
In which case you’d think trading should be suspended for a week or two as clearly markets are in a crisis mode.
The Shanghai stock exchange suspended trading for two or three weeks when the situation got bad there because investors over-react.
If it is suspended that should help bitcoin too because although you can’t stop crypto trading, it clearly seems to be the case the stock market affects bitcoin’s price currently.
So seeing as some economic activity has temporarily been suspended, you’d think markets should be suspended too, but what decisions will be taken remains to be seen.