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Plumes of smoke pour from the World Trade Center buildings in New York yesterday. Planes crashed into the upper floors of both World Trade Center towers minutes apart Tuesday in a horrific scene of explosions and fires that left gaping holes in the 110-story buildings

Terrorist attacks send shock waves through European markets

A series of terrorist attacks in the US sent shock waves through European stock, currency and commodities markets on Tuesday.

The euro and the price of oil rose sharply but European stocks markets plunged in response to the two plane crashes at the World Trade Center in New York and explosions at the Pentagon yesterday.

"The implications are going to be very far-reaching economically and commercially for months, if not years," said Jeremy Batstone of NatWest stockbrokers.

The euro rose to 0.9112 dollars from 0.8975 dollars before the crashes.

In London the price of oil jumped by nearly three dollars. A barrel of Brent North Sea crude was being quoted at 30.01 dollars from 27.26 dollars.

And European stocks, which had begun to show signs of recovering from the severe correction of the last 12 months, were set sharply back.

In London the stock exchange was evacuated but trading continued, pushing the FTSE index down 5.72 percent to close at 4,746 points. The Frankfurt DAX index dived by 9.1 percent and the CAC 40 index in Paris was down by 7.39 percent.

One trader in Paris commented: "People are selling massively. They are wondering how the Americans will respond to these attacks."

In Frankfurt stock market authorities suspended trading in US shares for one hour.

Trading was interrupted in Amsterdam during 15 minutes after sharp falls on the stock market there, shutting down the trading system automatically. The AEX index closed off 6.95 percent at 449.94 points.

In Milan the Mib 30 index closed down 7.79 percent at 29,106 points. The Swiss SMI index shed 7.07 percent at 5,695.1 points.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt