Asian, European markets sink after US Fed warning of 'uncertain' outlook

KONFRONTASI -  Asian and European markets dropped on Thursday following a warning by the US Federal Reserve of "uncertain" outlook for the American economy badly affected by the coronavirus.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Fed boss Jerome Powell said that the recovery from the current was looking better, but added it remained unclear when things would go back to normal.

 "Overall activity remains well below its level before the pandemic and the path ahead remains highly uncertain," he said.

"It will take a while to get back to the levels of economic activity and employment that prevailed at the beginning of this year," he added.

Following the remarks, Wall Street saw fresh losses, with the Nasdaq shedding more than one percent as tech giants took another hiding. Asia, in the meantime, followed suit on Thursday.

While Hong Kong, Sydney and Seoul all shed more than one percent, Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei, Manila, Bangkok and Jakarta were also well down.

Meanwhile, European stock markets sank in opening deals on Thursday following earlier sell-offs in Asia.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of major blue-chip companies lost 1.1 percent to 6,008.89 points, ahead of an interest rate decision due to be made by the Bank of England.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index lost 1.5 percent to 13,059.70 points and the Paris CAC 40 shed 1.4 percent to 5,001.18.

Powell on Wednesday stressed the need for more stimulus as US lawmakers seem unable to find common ground on a new aid package.

"My sense is that more fiscal support is likely to be needed."

His call for more aid comes as US President Donald Trump sowed some confusion after he claimed a vaccine would be available as soon as next month while a leading health expert in his administration warned that a vaccine was unlikely to be widely available until mid-2021.

Robert Redfield, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director, told lawmakers Wednesday that even if a COVID-19 vaccine is approved in the coming weeks, a "very limited" distribution could begin in November and December, but that full implementation would take many more months at least.

"I think we're probably looking at late second quarter, third quarter 2021" before a safe and effective vaccine would be available to the general public, Redfield noted.[ptv]

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