The global shares sell-off gathered pace, as fears spread that President Donald Trump’s ceasefire in the trade war with China will be shortlived, threatening the prospects for the world economy in 2019.
Inflaming tensions was the news of the arrest last Saturday of Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou, who is the daughter of the Chinese telecoms giant founder.
Facing possible extradition to the US, China is demanding her release.
The waves of selling across Asia, Europe and repeatedly through the US trading day, hit the Irish stock market hard.
The Iseq Overall Index fell by 176 points, or over 3%–one of the worst performers in Europe.
Local market heavyweights, which rely on a robust world economy, including the building shares, posted hefty falls.
CRH lost 5% of its value while Kingspan shares were not far behind, with a drop of 4.4%. Unsurprisingly, bank stocks which fare badly when the world economic growth comes into question also fell sharply.
Bank of Ireland, which is exposed to Britain and Brexit through its tie-up with the British Post Office, fell 3.4%.
AIB shares fell 1.7% and have now fallen almost 32% this year, while Permanent TSB shares fell 2.2%.
They are down 22% this year.
The Ftse-100 in London shed 217 points, or over 3%, in line with the losses in Frankfurt and Paris.
There was “a sea of red”, said Chris Beauchamp at online broker IG, that pushed European shares to two-year lows.
“In what must rank as one of the worst-timed economic releases in recent months, the US trade deficit has hit its widest level in ten years; such news is unlikely to please the White House, so investors will be on alert for a tweet on the subject in due course,” Mr Beauchamp said.
The price of oil slumped below $60 a barrel.
Brent crude–the global benchmark–shed $2.17 to $59.39 in London, as a new world supply glut loomed.
“Opec seems to be joining in the no deal’ fun, with only an agreement in principle to cut output. While oil is off the lows of the day, it is not likely to hold these lows for long if oil ministers don’t agree a sizeable cut. We wait until [Friday] for further news,” Mr Beauchamp said.