Trading on Wall Street was temporarily halted on March 9, 2020, as US stocks joined a global rout. (Photo by AFP)
Indicators released on Tuesday showed "an unprecedented collapse" in business from Australia and Japan to Western Europe and the United States.
"The coronavirus outbreak represents a major external shock to the macro outlook, akin to a large-scale natural disaster," analysts at BlackRock Investment Institute said in a note.
Analysis company IHS Markit said its data showed a slump in the 19-nation eurozone in March "far exceeding that seen even at the height of the global financial crisis", predicting a dramatically abrupt tumble into a certain recession.
Major economies Italy, France, Germany and Spain are all deeply affected and have implemented severe social and business restrictions to try to slow the virusís spread, by keeping potential carriers at home.
The eurozoneís economic struggle was worsened by some EU member states closing off their borders to neighbors, limiting the flow of goods and people within the single market, Reuters wrote on Tuesday.
íGround to a haltí
EU countries are starting to deploy massive state spending and loan guarantees to prop up businesses and employment, with the EU dropping its strict rules on budget deficits.
Italy believes the eurozoneís bailout fund should be deployed without restrictions within the bloc to manage economic fallout from the coronavirus epidemic, its Deputy Economy Minister said on Tuesday.
Italy has borne the brunt of the outbreak in Europe, and Antonio Misiani told Reuters that no conditions should be attached to using the ESM (European Stability Mechanism) fund to combat it - potentially putting Rome at loggerheads with richer northern eurozone nations and some legislators in Rome.
Several Italian lawmakers have also expressed opposition, raising concerns that any kind of ESM support would place tougher fiscal obligations on Rome and impinge on national sovereignty.
IHS Markit said the March figures suggested the eurozone economy was shrinking at a quarterly rate of around 2%, and the escalation of measures to contain the virus could steepen the downturn.
Economic analysis firm Capital Economics said the collapse was "so sharp that at any other time it would look like a spreadsheet error".
It said "Aprilís data could be even worse", predicting the eurozoneís 2020 first-quarter GDP could plunge by at least three percent from the last three months of 2019.
"That would be similar to the sharpest quarterly fall in GDP during the global financial crisis," it said.
Analysts at bank ING said the IHS Markit survey "paints a picture of an economy that has ground to a halt".
But while it demonstrated the wide and sudden impact of the coronavirus, it "doesnít tell us much about the depth of the decline". ING added: "Itís still anyoneís guess how deep this actually is.
Volkswagen to halt production in Russia
Volkswagen will suspend its car production in Russia over a supply shortage caused by the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, Volkswagen Group Rus said on Tuesday.
Production will be stopped from March 30 to April 10 at is car plant in Kaluga and assembly line in Nizhny Novgorod, the company said.
Volkswagen last week said its plants in Europe would temporarily shut down for two weeks due to the spread of the coronavirus that has infected more than 330,000 people worldwide, as car manufacturers globally shut factories to both protect workers and in response to falling demand.
US manufacturing and services PMI surveys are also expected to come in at multi-year lows.
With the International Monetary Fund predicting a global recession, the worldís 20 largest economies agreed on Monday to develop an "action plan", but without specifics.
Speculation is mounting data on Thursday will show US jobless claims rose an eye-watering 1 million or more last week.
Goldman Sachs warned the US economy could contract by an annual rate of 24% in the second quarter, 2-1/2 times greater than the previous biggest contraction, after World War Two.
Boeing to suspend production; others also badly hit
Aerospace manufacturing offered a glance at how deep the crisis is, with Boeing Co saying it would halt production of most widebody jets and Airbus SE restarting only partial output after a four-day shutdown as suppliers cut jobs.
Moodyís cut its outlook for the aerospace and defense industry to negative from stable and warned that even when markets recover.
More than 2,500 planes have already been grounded this year, data from Cirium shows, with taxiways, maintenance hangars and even runways at major global airports turning into giant parking lots.
Large US carriers have drafted plans for a possible halt in US passenger air traffic, Reuters said.
Boeing faces the shutdown of key assembly lines for the second time in a year after being forced to halt production of its grounded 737 MAX aircraft in January.
The grounding of virtually all flights by Europeís largest budget airline and European air traffic data on Tuesday highlighted the enormity of the shock to aviation industries from the coronavirus now emptying skies around the globe.
Ryanair told customers it had effectively written off the next two months, while European air traffic management body Eurocontrol said volumes on Monday were down more than 75% from the same day last year.
Spanish airport operator Aena said on Tuesday it would close most terminals at Madrid and Barcelonaís main airports after air traffic plummeted due to restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
IMF sees íbig dropí in Mideast growth
In the Middle East, Dubai Airports and Abu Dhabi Airport said they will suspend all passenger flights as of 11:59 pm local time on Thursday for two weeks, with the exception of evacuation flights.
The latest statements from the United Arab Emiratesí main airports came after the government announced early on Monday that all passenger and transit flights to and from the country would be suspended after 48 hours.
The International Monetary Fund called for urgent action from Middle East governments as the coronavirus pandemic threatens a persistent slump in oil revenues and a "big drop" in growth.
The IMF said a dozen Middle East and North African countries had already approached it for financial support.
The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a 50 percent fall in oil prices that has slashed government revenues across the region.