Oil prices, stock markets slide as coronavirus cases rise

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The pound is trading higher against the dollar and the euro, as Brexit talks in London have been extended to Wednesday. Sterling is up 0.14% at $1.3059, and 0.45% higher at €1.1039.

Ireland’s deputy prime minister Leo Varadkar believes that the UK and the European Union can strike a free trade deal in coming weeks, he said on Sunday. He told RTE radio:

It’s by no means guaranteed but I think on the balance of probabilities it will be possible to agree a free trade agreement with the UK which means there will be no quotas and no tariffs.

The FTSE 100 index in London has fallen back again and is trading nearly 32 points lower at 5,828, a 0.55% drop.

Germany’s Dax has lost 2.07% after the software group SAP slashed its revenue forecast for this year, triggering a 17% fall in its share price. France’s CAC is 0.5% lower and Italy’s FTSE MiB has fallen 0.9%.

US stock futures are pointing to a lower open on Wall Street later. The Dow Jones is expected to open more than 260 points lower, a 0.9% drop, while the Nasdaq is seen down 92 points, a 0.79% fall, and the S&P 500 is set to drop almost 32 points, or 0.9%.

New coronavirus infections reached record levels over the weekend and El Paso in Texas asked residents to stay at home for the next two weeks. France has also seen new cases rise to record levels.

China’s top leaders have begun a meeting on boosting the economy’s self-reliance as the country turns inward amid diplomatic tensions and the coronavirus crisis.

The four-day session known as the plenum, which will determine China’s policy goals for the next five years, began on Monday behind closed doors in Beijing. While the new economic plan will only be made public just before approval by the rubber-stamping legislature, the National People’s Congress, details released after the close of the plenum provide key clues as to Chinese Communist party’s new priorities.

The meeting is being held amid a deteriorating global economy, historically tense ties between China and the US, and an increasingly difficult international environment for Beijing as it comes under scrutiny for alleged human rights abuses and political repression in Xinjiang and Hong Kong and questions about its transparency when the Covid-19 outbreak emerged in Wuhan in December.

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