Oil futures have also fallen. U.S. oil fell 2% in Asian trading hours on Friday, extending an 8% decline on Thursday. West Texas Intermediate last traded at $ 35.61 a barrel. Brent, the global benchmark, fell 1.1%, to $ 38.10 a barrel, extending a 7.6% drop on Thursday.
The losses came after U.S. stocks fell on Thursday, marking their worst day since March 16th.
The pandemic has already caused a rise in unemployment in the United States as parts of the economy have closed. A second wave of infections could force many companies to close again after they reopened.
“Fear of increasing the rate of Covid-19 infection is the most important driver of this sales process,” Tai Hui, chief Asian market strategist for JP Morgan Asset Management, wrote in a research note released Friday.
Meanwhile, oil markets are responding to fears of rising infections in the world’s largest oil-consuming economy, said Stephen Innes, chief global marketing strategist at AxiCorp.
He added that recent negative sentiments have been “exacerbated” by comments from Federal Reserve President Jerome Powell, who warned on Wednesday that the country’s economic future is extremely uncertain.
– Anneken Tappe and Tami Luhby contributed to this report.
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