Asian equities and the euro sank Wednesday as turmoil in Italy sparked a frantic dash for safety, while investors have also been spooked by fresh worries about the China-US trade row. Global markets have been sent into a tailspin as a political crisis unfolding in Rome has thrust the stability of the Euro zone and European Union back on to the agenda.
Italy's general election on Sunday has so far resulted in a hung parliament, with the country's Euro skeptic Five Star Movement emerging as the single party with the most votes. The centre-right coalition headed by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is expected to gain between 248 and 268 seats and a 37% vote share, which is still short of a majority. Some 316 seats are needed to form a government.
Election projections in Italy early Monday showed a center-right coalition that includes an anti-migrant party edging past the populist 5-Star Movement but no single bloc or party with the support to win a majority in Parliament. If confirmed by official results, the outcome could set the stage for weeks of political haggling to forge a new government.
The head of Italy's centre-left bloc has hit an impasse in his efforts to form a government and said only a mentally ill person would want to govern Italy now. Pier Luigi Bersani was rebuffed by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement on Wednesday.