March 23, 2020 / 8:13 AM / 11 days ago

European shares sink again as coronavirus deaths mount

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March 23 (Reuters) - European shares were stuck near seven-year lows on Monday after several countries expanded measures to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, with Italy banning even domestic travel as the number of fatalities there topped 5,400.

The benchmark STOXX 600 index was down 4.6% at 0806 GMT, with bourses in Germany, Spain and London leading declines.

The relentless spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has forced entire countries to self-isolate and brought economic activity to a grinding halt, driving the biggest global market sell-off since the 2008 financial crash.

With growing evidence of the corporate damage from paralysed supply chains and consumer spending, analysts have suggested the global economy was already in recession.

Planemaker Airbus fell another 12.7% after saying it was withdrawing its 2020 financial forecast, dropping a proposed 2019 dividend and suspending funding to top up staff pension schemes. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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