US Stocks traded significantly lower today as weak trade data is in from China.. China’s exports declined 25.4% year-on-year in February while its imports registered a fall of 13.8%. Both the numbers came steeply below the expectations of a decline of 12.5% and 13.8% respectively. The country’s surplus stands at $32.6 billion in February versus $63.3 billion in January.
China reported steep decline in trade
The numbers have heightened the expectations that China’s government will act through stimulus measures to resurrect the economy, which otherwise is falling in the grip of a slowdown. In addition there has been a reversal in oil prices which had an impact on stocks as well.
The commodity came under pressure after Kuwait’s oil minister warned that they will not act on output freeze unless other major producers including Iran honour the agreement. Additionally, Goldman Sachs has released a note expressing its doubts over the sustainability of the rally, which was seen in oil in recent days.
Eurozone’s economy grew
The series of events throughout the day have kept world markets jittery so far. Most of the Asian indices closed in red except China’s Shanghai, which managed to add gains despite weak trade inputs. All of the European indices reacted negatively to the Chinese trade numbers and continued to trade sharply lower.
On the economy front, Eurozone reported a growth of 1.6% in 2015, which is marginally higher than the earlier forecasts. The growth number is higher than the growth of 0.9% in 2014. Despite the rise, the region continues to battle deflationary pressures.
Meanwhile, Gold held up its gains near 13-month highs after the Federal Reserve Governor, Lael Brainard, poured water on the expectations of the interest rate hike. He said that the room for rate hikes is not enough during the short term, given the slowdown in China and weak global demand. The statement directly strengthened gold prices as investors continue to buy safe assets.