The global credit machine is grinding to a halt.

The $2.6 trillion international bond market where the world’s biggest companies raise money to finance themselves, has come to a virtual standstill around the world as the coronavirus spreads fear through company boardrooms.

In Europe, which had been enjoying the strongest ever start to the year -- with 239 billion euros ($260 billion) of bonds sold in January alone -- Wednesday saw no deals for the first time in 2020. The U.S. hasn’t seen a transaction since Friday while Asia, where the virus first emerged, has slowed to a trickle.

While such shutdowns are common during public holidays such as Christmas, they are extremely rare at other times of year.

Investors are rattled by the potential impact on company earnings from disruption caused by the virus, which has seen huge parts of global supply chains shutting down.

“It’s pretty serious,” said Shanawaz Bhimji, a fixed-income strategist at ABN Amro Bank NV, calling it a “very difficult” moment for investments in credit markets.

Honeywell International Inc., Virgin Money UK Plc and Transport for London are among the European borrowers readying deals before financial markets started turning hostile.

Borrowing costs in euros for investment-grade companies have surged to 95 basis points, the highest level reached this year, according to a Bloomberg Barclays index, while default swaps insuring the debt of high-grade companies surged to the highest in four months. A closely-watched measure of risk in the junk-bond market also soared to a six-month high on Wednesday.

The number of coronavirus cases continues to climb, with the global death toll nearing 3,000. U.S. health officials have warned citizens to prepare for an outbreak, while South Korea has also emerged as a hot spot, with more than 1,000 reported cases there.

The worsening crisis is already taking a toll on companies’ balance sheets, with drinks maker Diageo Plc set to book as much as a 325 million-pound ($422 million) hit to organic net sales following significant disruption in Greater China since the end of January. French food maker Danone SA lowered its target for 2020 sales growth after slowing bottled water sales in China.

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