Coronavirus: Airline stocks lose more than $112 billion as markets dive

Air China has managed to buck the trend and its profits have remained steady.
Air China has managed to buck the trend and its profits have remained steady. Photo credit: Getty Images

The rapid spread of coronavirus has wiped almost a third - or NZ$112 billion - off the sharemarket value of the world's top 20 listed airlines and reshuffled global rankings, an analysis by Reuters shows.

The reshuffle has elevated Air China past United Airlines into third place behind two US rivals, among other changes.

The airline sector has been hit particularly hard by the deadly COVID-19 outbreak, with plummeting ticket demand and Italy in lockdown forcing carriers to cancel routes and slash costs to survive the mounting crisis.

In the following graph it's plainly visible how the value of airline stocks on the sharemarket trended sharply down around the time the coronavirus outbreak was first reported.

The rapid spread of coronavirus has wiped almost a third.
The rapid spread of coronavirus has wiped almost a third. Photo credit: Newshub/Bloomberg

Air China has been hit relatively softly - its market cap was NZ$23 billion on Tuesday, compared with NZ$30 billion on January 2.

Wizz Air, a budget carrier focused on central European routes, is now more highly valued than Air France-KLM, while the world's most valuable airline, Delta Air, has seen more than NZ$15 billion knocked off its value this year.

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