Global markets shaken by fears over Delta variant


European equities have endured their worst session of the year as the threat of the Delta coronavirus variant triggered falls in global stock markets and commodities, while investors retreated to the safe havens of government bonds.

Europe’s region-wide Stoxx Europe 600 lost 2.3 per cent in its biggest one day price fall this year, with London’s FTSE 100 dropping by the same amount.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the US blue-chip S&P 500 index lost more than 2 per cent and the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite fell 1.4 per cent. In commodities, Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, declined 6.6 per cent to $68.68 a barrel.

The US 10-year bond yield — a benchmark for assets around the world — tumbled 0.09 percentage points to 1.209 per cent, its lowest since mid-February. German 10-year yields fell to minus 0.39 per cent, and UK 10-year yields to 0.56 per cent, both five-month lows.

Government bonds have been…

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