Asian markets traded broadly lower today as China’s weaker-than-anticipated data weighed on sentiment. Analysts hold the view that investors have adopted caution amid fears that China is slipping further into a slowdown.
IG chief market strategist Chris Weston wrote that Asian markets are reflecting a period of consolidation after markets rallied up in the last few days. However, some analysts are shying away from drawing bigger conclusions following today’s weakness. Many still believe that China’s March trade numbers will be important as the Lunar New Year in February could have impacted numbers.
Among the Asian indices, only Australia’s ASX All Ordinaries and Mumbai Sensex rose by 0.89% and 0.23% respectively. China’s Shanghai SE Composite Index traded sharply lower by 1.34% to 2,862.56. Nikkei 225 and Taiwan TSEC 50 registered a fall of 0.84% and 0.35% to 16,642.20 and 8,634.11 respectively. The Hong Kong Hang Seng posted a loss of 0.08% to 19,996.26.
France Cuts Growth Projection
On the other hand, European markets opened in the green and continued higher into the release of the UK manufacturing report. Market participants remained glued to yesterday’s Chinese data nevertheless, which showed a big cut in its exports and imports numbers. France has added to the woes by announcing a cut in its growth forecasts.
The Bank of France has said that it now expects the economy to grow 0.3% during the current quarter as opposed to earlier expectations of 0.4% growth. The cut came after confidence among factory executives dipped to 98 in February from 101 in January.
During the morning trade, Euronext 100 added 1.26% followed by France’s CAC 40 at 1.22% and Germany’s DAX added 1.24%. London’s FTSE 100 is the laggard in Europe today, up only 0.66%.
Back in the U.S., sentiment remained disturbed over China’s trade numbers and fall back in oil prices during the last session. Futures are up however in the premarket, indicating another bounce higher reflective Europe, at market open.