Fears that world economies are slipping irreversibly towards recession have continued to take chunks out of the stock markets. In the minutes after opening the FTSE in London lost nearly six per cent and the same immediate dive into the red was witnessed in Paris and Frankfurt. By lunchtime the FTSE had recovered slightly and was around 2.25 per cent down. Those falls followed six and seven per cent losses yesterday.
Yet the week had started so well after plans were announced to rescue banks across the world. But the so-called real economy, what the average person sees and suffers, remains all at sea.
Figures revealing US retail sales slipped in August worried investors that a recession is imminent, and the selling of stocks continued last night in Asia. The Nikkei closed more than 11 percent lower, its worst one-day fall for over 20 years.