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Credit markets freeze, crude plunges

Credit markets freeze, crude plunges

The COVID19 virus remains at the heart of market concerns. However overnight trading was mixed as markets fine-tuned their responses. European shares lifted, and US stocks added modestly to recent falls. In contrast crude oil slumped again and the Australian dollar hit new eleven year lows. The action in safer havens reflected the conditions in growth assets. Bonds fell, bit gold resumed its upward march.

Most concerning is the fact that credit markets froze. In very unusual trading there were no new corporate bonds issued in Europe or the USA. This last occurred on a non-holiday in 2007, just before the global peak in equity markets and the plunge that heralded the GFC.

A 2.5% fall in crude prices took the West Texas Intermediate contract below $49 a barrel, and Brent below $54. The tumble occurred despite positive news on US inventories. Industrial metals also fell as pessimism about global growth prospects spread.

The increase in reported cases of infection in the last twenty-four hours was greater outside China for the first time. Hang Seng futures finished the overnight session in the green, although most other Asia Pacific share markets are set for negative starts.

The Australian corporate reporting season is drawing to a close. Unfortunately Link Market Services, Flight Centre, Ramsay Healthcare and toll road group Atlas Arteria all reported earnings below Bloomberg consensus estimates this morning.

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