LONDON, U.K. – European shares are set for a lower market open on Thursday, dragged by the losses in the Asian session amid the intensifying battle to suppress the spread of a virus.
At around 2:15 ET, the bluechip DAX futures contract was down by around 0.1%, trading lower by nine points. The FTSE 100 futures in the UK dropped 0.1%, going down by 10 points. The CAC 40 futures of France also fell by 0.2%, dipping low of 14 points. Futures of the Euro Stoxx 50 on the pan-eurozone also slipped by 0.1% or four points.
In the Asian stock market, the Shanghai Composite in China dropped by 2.8%, while the Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 index recorded a 3.6% decline. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong also lost for the day by 2%.
Earlier on Thursday, the Chinese government announced the travel suspension in Wuhan city, which is located at the center of the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus. The travel suspension from China is the government’s latest attempt to contain the spreading of the virus, which has already recorded at least 17 people dead and hundreds of Chinese people, including some in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and the US infected. New headlines on the virus have ignited concerns of a pandemic.
Wuhan is the country’s major transportation hub with railways and roads connecting to the rest of China. Wuhan recorded a $224 billion GDP in 2018, and according to the chief economist of Asia-Pacific at the ING, Robert Carnell, the impact of the disease in the economy is manifesting both in the precautionary behavior of people in China, especially in Wuhan, and the quarantine efforts of the authorities.
The WHO postponed giving a decision on whether to declare the escalating virus as an international concern of public health emergency at the moment.
The emergency committee of the organization met the previous day in Geneva but concluded that more information is necessary.
Aside from the latest headlines in Asia, the central bank in the EU is also scheduled to meet later Thursday. The central bank is expected to keep the rates unchanged. Meanwhile, the major focus for the meeting will be the strategic review that ECB president Christine Lagarde promised. It would be the second meeting for Lagarde after she recently took the role of president in the ECB.
In commodities elsewhere, as of 2:15 ET, US crude futures traded lower by 1.7% at $55.78. Brent contract, an international benchmark, was also down by 1.4% towards $62.31. Meanwhile, the February delivery of gold futures on COMEX in New York was trading flat as well at $1,556.40.