World oil prices sink by more than four percent as traders fret over #coronavirus

World stock markets and oil prices tumbled on Monday, with Milan and Seoul falling hardest on growing fears of a coronavirus pandemic, as gold hit a seven-year peak on safe-haven buying, dealers said.

Traders' screens were awash with red in Europe, with Frankfurt falling 3.7 percent, London losing 3.5 percent, Madrid down 3.3 percent and Paris shedding 3.8 percent.

Seoul nosedived 3.9 percent as South Korea announced a surge in COVID-19 infections, while Hong Kong erased 1.8 percent but Shanghai retreated by only 0.3 percent. 

With the outbreak showing little sign of easing, investors are increasingly concerned it could have a much longer-term impact on the world economy. 

Traders had been broadly optimistic that the virus -- which has killed nearly 2,600 and infected 80,000 -- was being contained outside China but a spurt of infections and deaths in other countries including South Korea, Italy and Iran has fanned fears of a global outbreak.

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