Asian Stocks Fall As China Trade Growth Slides
BANGKOK (AP) World stock markets tumbled Friday as investors withdrew from riskier assets after China's trade suffered a steeper-than-expected slowdown.
The figures, which come a day after China reported a slowdown in auto sales and factory output, underscored concerns that the world's No. 2 economy is succumbing to an economic downturn despite government efforts to stimulate growth.
Chinese trade data for July showed exports rising just 1 percent over a year earlier, sharply below forecasts of 5 percent. Import growth fell to 4.7 percent from the previous month's 6.3 percent, also below forecasts.Meanwhile, the trade surplus with the 27-nation European Union, China's biggest trading partner, narrowed by 37.9 percent to $10.8 billion, reflecting sluggish demand as Europe wrestles with a debt crisis and recession. European stocks dropped in early trading. Britain's FTSE 100 fell less than 0.1 percent to 5,847.10. Germany's DAX lost 0.3 percent to 6,944.68 and France's CAC-40 fell 0.7 percent to 3,433.81. Wall Street appeared headed for a lower open, with Dow Jones industrial futures falling 0.3 percent to 13,105 and S&P 500 futures shedding 0.3 percent to 1,396.80. Francis Lun, managing director of Lyncean Holdings in Hong Kong, said the data confirms worries that China's export industry is being hit hard by the turmoil in Europe and that drastic steps are needed to prevent China from falling into an economic trap known as stagflation in which unemployment and inflation are both high. "That is bad news for the Chinese economy so the government will need to do something more to stimulate the economy," he said. "I think next year you will have recession and inflation at the same time stagnant economic growth but inflation, so people are getting poorer by the day." Markets got off to a shaky start in Asia. Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 1 percent to close at 8,891.44. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.7 percent to 20,136.12 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.7 percent to 4,277.30. South Korea's Kospi bounced up and down before closing 0.3 percent higher at 1,946.40.
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