World Economy

Global Shares Fall on Weak Japan Data

Global Shares Fall on Weak Japan DataGlobal Shares Fall on Weak Japan Data

Global shares sagged Tuesday as oil prices gave up overnight gains and China reported sharply lower trade figures for February. A weaker dollar weighed on Japanese stocks following the release of revised data showing Japan’s economy contracted in October-December.

France’s CAC 40 lost 1.5% in early trading to 4,376.63, and Germany’s DAX was also down 1.5% to 9,632.29. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged down 0.9% to 6,129.66. US shares also were set to head lower, with Dow futures down 0.6% and S&P 500 futures down 0.7%, AP reported.

China’s exports plunged 25.4% in February from a year earlier, as weak global demand and a business shutdown during the Lunar New Year holiday combined to depress sales. Customs data reported Tuesday showed imports fell 13.8%.

Revised data showed Japan’s GDP contracted at a 1.1% annualized pace in the last quarter, compared to a 1.4% expansion in the July-September quarter. It was a modest improvement over the previous estimate of a 1.4% contraction in October-December.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 dropped 0.8% to 16,783.15 and South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.6% to 1,946.12. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed 0.7% to 20,011.58, while the Shanghai Composite inched up 0.1, regaining earlier losses, to 2,901.39. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.7% to 5,108.00, and other regional stocks also declined.

“We have seen a big move in markets in a very short period of time and investors are calling time ahead of the ECB and the Fed meetings in the coming days,” said Kay Van-Petersen, global macro strategist at Saxo Bank in Singapore.

The European Central Bank is widely expected to ease at Thursday’s policy review, but there is a lot of uncertainty about how far it would go. And in the United States, ahead of Federal Reserve policy meeting next week, fed fund futures were barely pricing in one more hike this year.

Commodities: Investors appeared skeptical over Monday’s rally in oil, iron ore and other commodities, analysts said. Prices fell back slightly during Asian trading after a 5.5% jump in US crude prices overnight.

Energy: Benchmark US crude fell 25 cents to $37.65 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped $1.98 on Monday to $37.90 a barrel. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, fell 8 cents to $40.77 a barrel.

Currencies: The euro rose a little to $1.103. The dollar edged down to 112.93 yen from 113.27 yen.