The spread of Covid-19 profoundly affected global markets in the first quarter. Equities suffered steep declines as uncertainty rocketed higher causing investors to flee toward safe-haven assets and their perceived safety. Governments and central banks announced unprecedented support programs for businesses, households and the financial system, helping to stabilize markets late March.
Shares fell across developed markets as coronavirus spread and countries went into lockdown to try to contain the outbreak.
Government bond yields declined over the quarter, meaning bond prices rose, as higher risk assets such as shares saw heavy declines amid rising fears over the Covid-19 pandemic. Investors favored the perceived safety of government bonds due to the growing likelihood of a deep global recession.
The moves largely occurred in late-February and March as numerous countries went into lockdown in response to the pandemic, seriously depressing economic activity. This resulted in severe declines and extreme daily swings in assets prices on a scale comparable to the crises of 2008 and 2011.