Ahead of the European vaccines summit, European stock markets took their cue from Asia on Thursday, tumbling into red.
Today, the European Union (EU) will decide on whether to ban vaccine exports at a two-day video-conference.
The 27 EU members will also discuss how to speed up vaccinations across the bloc, as well as industrial policy and relations with Turkey and Russia, according to a draft final summit statement seen by Reuters.
“Tensions between the EU and UK still remain fairly elevated, despite efforts to cool the narrative, while the recent comments from Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, accusing the UK of vaccine nationalism still suggest the potential for a misstep, as feelings continue to run high, particularly on the EU side, where the sense of grievance remains especially elevated,” said by Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.
He added: “Sentiment in Europe continues to remain fragile after German chancellor Angela Merkel was forced into a sharp U-turn over her decision to announce a full 5 day lockdown over the Easter period, as the German government’s response to their rising crisis shows further signs of coming apart at the seams.”
On Thursday, Asian equities bounced between gains and losses, as a selloff Chinese technology shares due to concerns they will be delisted from US bourses and worries about a semiconductor shortage raffled some investors.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell overnight. The index is close to wiping out all the gains it has posted so far this year.
Hong Kong shares fell sharply at the open but then later erased most of its losses, the Hang Seng (^HSI) closed just 0.06% lower. Alibaba Group (9988.HK), Xiaomi Corp (1810.HK), and Tencent Holdings (0700.HK) all traded lower. Shares in China rose 0.28pc.
The US securities watchdog is familiarising methods that would kick foreign companies off American stock exchanges if they fail to obey with US auditing standards, and require them to disclose any government affiliations. The measures are widely expected to hit Chinese companies.