World stocks fall due to Chinese slow-down
BANGKOK- The Associated Press
A trader in Frankfurt stares at his screen as stocks fall after China released trade figures over the weekend that showed that the world’s second largest economy was slowing down as it recorded the largest monthly trade deficit. AFP photoWorld stock markets fell yesterday after China’s trade figures underlined a slowdown in the world’s No. 2 economy.
Benchmark oil remained above $106 per barrel. The dollar rose against the euro, but fell against the yen.
China on the weekend reported its biggest monthly trade deficit in at least a decade in February as imports rebounded after a Lunar New Year holiday slowdown in January. But the combined figures for both months showed growth in imports and exports decelerating markedly.
January-February export growth slowed to 6.9 percent over the same two-month period last year, barely half of December’s 13.4 percent rate. Imports for the two months rose 7.7 percent, down from December’s 11.8 percent. Weaker growth in Chinese trade could have a ripple effect throughout the world.
Britain’s FTSE 100 was 0.1 percent lower at 5,880.09. Germany’s DAX fell marginally to 6,875.95 and France’s CAC-40 lost 0.2 percent to 3,480.92. Wall Street was headed for a lower opening, with Dow Jones industrial futures off 0.1 percent at 12,848. S&P 500 futures were 0.2 percent lower at 1,364.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell 0.4 percent to 9,889.86 and South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.8 percent to 2,002.50. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.4 percent to 4,196.70.
Chinese shares mixed
Mainland Chinese shares were mixed, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index falling 0.2 percent to 2,434.86. The smaller Shenzhen Composite Index gained 0.4 percent to 999.63. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.2 percent to 21,134.18 after spending much of the day in negative territory.
“Export-related stocks such as shipping stocks and port operators got hit today” by the Chinese data, said Louis Wong, director of Phillip Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong-listed China Shipping Container Lines dived 5.1 percent and China COSCO Holdings lost 1.8 percent.
Investment sentiment was also tempered by news that Greece’s debt reduction deal with private creditors could cause losses for banks after the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, the private organization that rules on such cases, ruled that a “restructuring credit event” occurred.
China’s property developers lost ground on concerns that the sector is unlikely to get any policy relief in the short term, said Peng Yunliang, an analyst based in Shanghai China.
India’s industrial production up
New Delhi – Associated Press
India’s January industrial production showed surprisingly strong growth registering at 6.8 percent and India’s car sales hit their highest ever level in February. The numbers are a positive surprise amid India’s economic slide, but analysts caution that yesterday’s data may not indicate a long-term turnaround.
An industry group says car sales rose 13 percent in February, making it the first time Indians have ever bought over 200,000 cars in a single month.
That flurry of buying comes before expected tax hikes on vehicles.
The government says that the high industrial production reading will lower the likelihood the central bank will cut interest rates on Thursday.