Markets in Asia dropped significantly on Thursday as the novel coronavirus continues to spread ahead of the Chinese new lunar year.
The European Union markets faced the additional burden of renewed threats from the United States President Donald Trump.
President Trump on Wednesday told CNBC that the E.U. has "no choice" but to negotiate a new trade deal with the U.S.; otherwise, he'll have to consider "very high tariffs on their cars and other things."
The U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin the same day reiterated the threat for the United Kingdom, which is set to leave the E.U. at the end of this month after the country's parliament assented to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's withdrawal agreement bill on Wednesday.
"If people just want to just arbitrarily put taxes on our digital companies, we'll consider arbitrarily putting taxes on car companies," Mnuchin said, as reported by CNN.
Meanwhile, the markets globally seem to be taking precautions against the spread of the coronavirus, which is taking its worst toll on the Chinese stocks.
According to China's state-run Xinhua News Agency, the death toll had risen to 17 by Wednesday evening, with 571 total cases reported.
The government has also imposed severe restrictions on transport in and out of Wuhan city, which is at the center of the virus' spread, as cases get reported internationally in the U.S., Japan, Thailand, and South Korea.
China's Shanghai Composite closed 2.75% lower at 2,976.53, and Shenzhen Component closed 3.52% lower.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 1.52% and closed at 27,909.12.
Japan's Nikkei 225 traded 0.87% lower at 22,821.39, while South Korea's KOSPI lost 0.93% to close at 2,246.13.
Germany's DAX Performance Index traded 0.66% lower at 13,427.12 at press time.
France's CAC 40 traded 0.35% lower, and the Netherlands' AEX was down 0.51%. The United Kingdom's FTSE 100 traded 0.33% lower at 7,547.67.
Eurozone's overall Stoxx 50 index was down 0.39% at 3,755.17
Volkswagen AG (OTC: VLKAF) was mostly unchanged at $198.65.
Dow Jones futures traded 0.15% lower at 29,095.00 Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.05% at 9,191.00, and S&P 500 futures were down 0.09% at 3,316.75.