European stocks tumble after the UK adds six more countries to its COVID-19 travel quarantine list

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  • European stocks fell on Friday as the UK added six more countries to its 14-day COVID-19 quarantine list.
  • The UK’s benchmark FTSE 100 fell 1.9% and the Euro Stoxx 50 dropped 1.6% in early European trading.
  • The decision, which comes into effect Saturday, implies that travellers arriving in the UK from countries including France and the Netherlands have a window of a little over 30 hours to return home to avoid restrictions.
  • Data from Eurostat shows Eurozone GDP shrank 12% for the second quarter, its sharpest decline since records began in 1995.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

European stocks tumbled on Friday after the UK added six more countries to its COVID-19 travel quarantine list, which weighed heavily on airline and travel stocks. 

The decision means that travellers arriving in the UK from France, Netherlands, Malta, Monaco, Aruba, and the Turks and Caicos Islands will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Anyone breaking the rules will be liable for a fine.

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 fell 1.9%, on course for its biggest one-day fall this month, while the Euro Stoxx 50 fell 1.6%, also set for its largest one-day decline this month.

Weighing heavily on the European travel industry, the UK’s latest restrictions “contributed to a moody open for the continent’s markets” and “the FTSE continued to unwind its hard-to-justify post-recession reveal gains,” said Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at SpreadEx.

UK-based airlines and European tour operators saw sharp drops, as shares in EasyJet and British Airways parent IAG fell 7%, while budget airline Ryanair and German travel company Tui fell about 5%.  

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The UK’s decision to impose this new directive was enacted to “keep infection rates down,” according to Britain’s transport secretary Grant Shapps.

As of last week, an estimated 450,000 holidaymakers were still in France, according to the Telegraph newspaper, with many thousands more holidays booked in the coming weeks, implying that any quarantine restrictions would represent a greater logistical challenge than in any other country.

The mandate comes after France, a major holiday destination for travellers from the UK, added over 2,524 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours — the highest one-day rise since its lockdown lifted in May. 

Spain, another popular destination, was removed from Britain’s “travel corridor” last month, meaning any UK-based visitors must also quarantine for 14 days upon their return. 

Separately, oil prices fell on Friday with benchmark Brent crude down 0.4% at $44 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate down 0.6% at $42. 

On Thursday, the Internal Energy Agency downgraded its global oil demand forecast for both 2020 and 2021 on expectations of weakness in the aviation sector, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hamper air travel. 

Separate data from the EU statistics agency showed GDP growth for the second quarter in the euro zone plunged by the sharpest level since records began in 1995, falling 12%, and by 11.7% quarter-on-quarter.

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Euro zone unemployment came in at -2.8%, versus expectations for -1.7%. 

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Here’s the market roundup as of 11.45 a.m. in London (6.45 a.m. ET):


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