A man wearing face mask walks past a bank electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange, May 14, 2020.
A man wearing face mask walks past a bank electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange, May 14, 2020.

European markets are all trading lower Thursday amid rising fears that the global economy is still in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic.

London’s FTSE index is down a whopping 2.2% in midday trading, with the CAC-40 in Paris trading 1.8% lower and Frankfurt’s DAX index down 1.5%.

Thursday’s selloff began earlier in Asia, with Tokyo’s Nikkei index and the S&P/ASX in Sydney both losing 1.7% at their closing bells.  Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai and Taipei also posted significant losses.

Investors appear to be disheartened by a warning issued Wednesday by Jerome Powell, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, that the current economic downturn caused by the global COVID-19 outbreak will last into the foreseeable future.

In futures trading, the Dow Jones was slightly lower, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are in positive territory, indicating a mixed start for Wall Street Thursday.

While equities are losing ground, the price of oil is on the upswing.  The U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude is trading at $26.37 per barrel, up 4.2%, while Brent crude, the international benchmark, is selling at $30.28 per barrel, up 3.7%.