Lockdowns across dozens of Chinese cities -- from the manufacturing hubs of Shenzhen and Shanghai to the breadbasket of Jilin -- have wreaked havoc

New York (AFP) - World stock markets mostly sank Monday and oil prices slumped as China’s Covid lockdowns added to stubborn fears over the impact of rising US interest rates and surging inflation.

Wall Street suffered another rout, with the tech-rich Nasdaq slumping more than four percent and the S&P 500 ending below 4,000 points for the first time since March 2021.

Frankfurt, London and Paris all fell more than two percent, as did Tokyo.

Meanwhile, oil prices slid more than five percent, while bitcoin plunged below $31,000 hitting its lowest level since late 2020, as investors shunned the volatile cryptocurrency.

“The bloodletting on stock markets has continued today as we start a new week … with the biggest declines being seen in basic resources after the latest China trade data,” said market analyst Michael Hewson at CMC Markets UK.

Millions of people in Beijing stayed home on Monday as China tries to fend off a Covid-19 outbreak with creeping restrictions on movement.

Residents of the capital fear they may soon find themselves in the grip of the same draconian measures that have trapped most of Shanghai’s 25 million people at home for weeks.

Lockdowns across dozens of Chinese cities – from the manufacturing hubs of Shenzhen and Shanghai to the breadbasket of Jilin – have wreaked havoc on supply chains over recent months and further stoked global inflationary pressures.

Investors were given more bad news after China reported that exports in April slumped to their lowest level in almost two years, due to the nation’s strict zero-Covid policy.

- Anxiety spreads -

US stock markets dived late last week after the Federal Reserve raised up interest rates by a half-percentage point and flagged more aggressive hikes ahead to tackle decades-high inflation, and continued sinking on Monday.

“Anxiety is stemming from the Fed’s next moves, with uncertainty creeping in about the scale and speed of interest rate hikes,” said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Sophie Lund-Yates.

Global markets also have taken a beating this year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin on Monday defended the offensive in Ukraine and blamed Kyiv and the West, as he looked to use the grand Victory Day celebrations to mobilize patriotic support for the campaign.

However, investors were relieved that Putin made no major announcements, despite reports he could use the anniversary to announce an escalation of the conflict.

“Putin has not declared a war on Ukraine to enable full mobilisation which is obviously a relief,” noted Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson.

- Key figures at around 2050 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 2.0 percent at 32,245.70 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 3.2 percent at 3,991.24 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 4.3 percent at 11,623.25 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 2.3 percent at 7,216.58 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 2.2 percent at 13,380.67 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 2.8 percent at 6,086.02 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 2.8 percent at 3,526.86 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 3,004.14 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 2.5 percent at 26,319.34 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: Closed for a holiday

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 5.7 percent at $105.94 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 6.1 percent at $103.09 per barrel

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0563 from $1.0551 on Friday

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2331 from $1.2348

Euro/pound: UP at 85.64 pence from 85.52 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 130.26 yen from 130.56 yen

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