World Economy

Asian, European Shares Decline

Asian, European Shares DeclineAsian, European Shares Decline

Concern about a potential slowdown in China hit global stocks and commodities on Monday while signs of disagreement between major economic powers on the need for extra stimulus further clouded the outlook.

Shares fell in Asia and Europe as investors worried a closely watched gauge of Chinese manufacturing, due on Tuesday, could indicate activity was contracting, Reuters reported.

The Australian dollar fell half a percent to a seven-month low of $0.8826, reflecting Australia’s dependency on Chinese appetite for its natural resources exports.

Mining company stocks fell in Europe on fears over Chinese demand. British food retailer Tesco, whose shares fell more than 8 percent after it further cut its first-half profit forecast, also took its toll.

“News out of China where Finance Minister Lou poured cold water on hopes that China will take further measures to boost its economy is souring sentiment for stocks,” Markus Huber, senior analyst at Peregrine & Black, said. Wall Street looked set to open lower, with stock index futures ESc1 pointing to losses.

Chinese steel and iron ore futures hit record lows, down 4 percent, plagued by excessive supply and demand worries.

Indian shares also opened lower on Monday. India’s key benchmark indexes Sensex and Nifty eked out marginal gains last week after the US Federal Reserve pledged to keep interest rates near zero for a “considerable time.”

Brent crude oil LCOc1 fell below $98 a barrel and three-month copper CMCU3 on the London Metal Exchange was down 1.5 percent at $6,733 a ton.

“The big concern out there seems to be China. Everybody is getting increasingly worried about the economy and the real estate sector and there are question marks about when we might get additional policy stimulus (from China),” said Nic Brown, head of commodity research at Natixis.

The closely-watched Chinese manufacturing number will be released on Tuesday, as will other global flash business activity surveys for September.

Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs meeting in Australia at the weekend did little to settle investor nerves. They said they were close to adding $2 trillion to the global economy, but there were signs of disagreement.

US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew cited “philosophical” differences with some of his European counterparts over the need for short-term stimulus.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble stressed Germany’s long-held view that structural reform and strict budget controls were needed.