European stocks hit by weak Chinese data

GMT 12:38 2015 Monday ,13 April

Arab Today, arab today European stocks hit by weak Chinese data

European stocks
London - AFP

Europe's main stock markets mostly fell Monday as investors examined poor Chinese trade data that signalled fresh weakness in the world's second biggest economy, dealers said.

In late morning trade, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index fell 0.44 percent to 7,059.10 points, with the mining sector hit hard by the weak numbers.

In the eurozone, the CAC 40 in Paris slid 0.03 percent to 5,238.9 points, while Frankfurt's DAX 30 added 0.02 percent to 12,377 points.

In foreign exchange, the European single currency rose to $1.0599 from $1.0547 late in New York on Friday.

China's customs administration said exports fell by a surprising 15 percent year-on-year in March, while imports tumbled 12.7 percent, in the latest data showing the Asian powerhouse economy is struggling.

The news weighed on the mining and resources sector in Europe, because China is a major consumer of many raw materials.

In London, BHP Billiton's share price tumbled 2.77 percent to 1,423 pence, leading the fallers on the FTSE 100 index.

Anglo American dived 1.81 percent to 1,003.5 pence, Antofagasta dropped 2.54 percent to 996 pence and Rio Tinto shed 1.57 percent to 2,792.5 pence.

"Beijing’s brutal trade figures have sparked a sell-off in the mineral-related stocks, and the overnight announcement from China has set the pace for the growth figures that are due out later this week," said IG analyst David Madden.

"The collapse in China’s trade balance on the month was so dramatic it left some traders wondering whether the figures were accurate, and other dealers viewed the dreadful numbers as a sign for further stimulus."

Before the weekend, European equities hit record highs on Friday as a weaker single currency boosted companies' exports from the eurozone, dealers said.

Across in Asia, however, markets mostly rose as the data stoked hopes for fresh easing measures in China.

Investors took the news as a cue to pump even more cash into equities, expecting China's leaders to unveil more easing measures on top of the two interest rate cuts since November and a reduction in the amount of cash banks must keep in reserve.

Hong Kong stocks leapt 2.73 percent and Shanghai rallied 2.17 percent.

Seoul gained 0.53 percent, while Tokyo ended marginally lower and Sydney shed 0.14 percent.

"Asian markets shrugged off another poor set of Chinese trade data today," said Rebecca O'Keeffe, head of investment at online stockbroker Interactive Investor.

"However, once again, weakness has been viewed as a reason to expect further stimulus from Chinese policy makers, prompting Chinese shares to rally."

Wall Street provided another strong lead Friday, boosted by a string of merger announcements last week and a huge asset sale by General Electric.


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