The FTSE 100 is forecast to open 6% down on Monday after oil costs fell by a third overnight in a renewed coronavirus-linked sell-off.
The price of Brent crude fell below $30 a barrel at one stage to record its worst daily plunge in percentage terms since the build-up to the 1991 Gulf War.
It was blamed on Saudi Arabia starting a price war with Russia following their failure last week to agree a deal to curb output and help stabilise prices – hit by a plunge in demand because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Image: A barrel of Brent crude oil cost more than $110 in 2014 and was last below $30 in early 2016
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The plunge in stock market values over the past fortnight also reflects fears that measures to contain the virus will cripple global economic growth.
Financial spreadbetters saw the FTSE 100 falling more than 400 points – over 6% – at the open in London to 6,000 points, with energy stocks likely to feel the worst of the pain.
The latest stock market rout began in Asia where the Nikkei in Tokyo was trading more than 5% lower while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down by almost 4%.
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US futures suggested the Dow Jones Industrial Average would lose almost 5% of its value – falling more than 1,200 points at the open due at 1.30pm UK time.
Most recent coronavirus developments in the UK:
Three deaths in patients who tested positive with the virus
Victims were in Berkshire, Milton Keynes and Manchester
Sunday saw a rise of 72 cases to reach a total of 278 – the highest increase in cases in a 24-hour period
Supermarkets have placed restrictions on items including pasta, anti-bacterial wipes and hand soap in a bid to prevent shoppers from stockpiling
Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to northern Italy
People returning from affected areas in Italy told to self-isolate regardless of whether they have symptoms
The virus-stricken Grand Princess cruise ship with more than 140 Britons on board is due to dock in Oakland, California on Monday
Source : Sky News