Everything is tanking

Photo: Getty Images.

Assets across the board are getting slammed on global markets.

Fear was exacerbated on Wednesday evening when US Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen spoke to Congress, and hinted that the volatility of assets right now could lead to the Fed cutting its base interest rate, just a couple of months after raising it for the first time since the financial crisis.

As a result, stocks across the globe have crashed. On their return from a break for the Lunar New Year, Asian shares tanked, with the Hong Kong-based Hang Seng off by 4%, and South Korea’s Kospi down 3%.

Europe is faring even worse, with every single major European share index substantially down. Most have seen losses in excess of 2%, while numerous bourses are off more than 3%.

The Australian ASX200 was a bright spot in Asian trade, rising 1% following a steadying on global markets on Wednesday in Europe and the US. But now the selling on global markets has resumed.

Shares in mining giant Rio Tinto crashed 4% on the London exchange after the release of its 2015 results. The company saw underlying earnings halved last year and posted a net loss of over $US800 million for the year.

On broader markets, the biggest single faller on the day is the FTSE MIB in Italy, which surged 4.7% on Wednesday, but has fallen by a similar margin this morning. As of 11:45 a.m. GMT (6:45 a.m. ET), the index is off around 4.7%, down to less than 16,000 points. Here’s the chart:

Elsewhere in Europe, things don’t look a lot better. Here’s the scoreboard:

  • Germany’s DAX 30 — down 2.3%
  • Spain’s IBEX 35 — down 3.7%
  • Britain’s FTSE 100 — down 2.2%
  • France’s CAC 40 — down 3.4%
  • Eurostoxx 50 — down 3.13%

The big driver of falls in Europe is the renewed crash of banking stocks across the continent. Virtually every major bank is trading in the red, with some, including Societe Generale in France, and UBI Banca in Italy, tanking more than 10%.

Falls are also being helped on their way by a big slide in the price of oil, which has dropped below $27 per barrel.

As of 11:45 GMT, WTI, the US benchmark has fallen 4% on the day to trade at $26.34. Brent crude is also off, but by a much smaller margin. It’s down 1.6% to around $30.35.

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