Stocks fell across the world on Wednesday even after governments in the UK, France, Spain, and the United States announced a series of new stimulus measures designed to curb the economic impact of the spiralling coronavirus pandemic.
Stocks in the US, which rose on Tuesday, suffered broad declines. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) was down by more than 4.7%.
Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey on Wednesday suggested that the central bank was considering printing money and giving it directly to UK households.
Bailey also said that there was no limit on the amount of commercial paper that the bank could snap up as part of a new facilitythat aims to help businesses across a range of sectors to pay wages and suppliers.
His comments came after UK chancellor Rishi Runak on Tuesday announced £330bn ($390bn) in state-backed loans to coronavirus-hit businesses, equivalent to 15% of GDP.
Sunak also pledged a further £20bn in stimulus measures, including the suspension of business rates for swathes of firms.
The announcement came after a series of measures were announced by the French and Spanish governments.
Later on Tuesday, the Trump administration announced a stimulus package of measures — pending congressional approval — that could end up amounting to $1tn (£800bn), alongside $300bn in deferred tax payments.
“Faced with the prospect of meeting the costs of massive welfare bills, and the prospect of multiple business failures, politicians from Europe, the UK and the US announced a series of measures designed to help steer their respective economies through the uncharted waters of an economic shock of a yet unspecified magnitude,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.
“The widespread and whole-scale economic shutdowns being announced in the last few days have the potential to plunge millions of people into huge financial difficulties as governments take high stakes steps to beat back the invisible enemy of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hewson said.
The decline in US and European stocks followed a weak trading session in Asia.