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Global stock markets declined on Thursday after Japanese exports plunged and Chinese trade tensions with Washington and Australia worsened.
Investors were looking ahead to Friday’s meeting of China’s legislature for details of possible new steps by Beijing to stimulate its virus-battered economy.
London and Frankfurt opened lower. Tokyo, Shanghai and Australia declined after spending the day swinging between gains and losses.
Japan reported its exports fell 22% in April from a year earlier in their biggest decline since the 2008 crisis. Forecasters said they expect more export weakness due to slumping US and European demand.
Investors are optimistic about the global outlook despite mounting infection numbers in the United States, Brazil and other countries. But China's conflicts with Washington and Australia over the coronavirus, trade and Beijing's technology ambitions are adding to uncertainty.
China has blocked beef imports from four Australian suppliers in possible retaliation for Australia’s support for an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has stepped up a feud over Beijing’s industrial ambitions by tightening controls on use of US technology by tech giant Huawei.
Investors are "trying to make heads or tails of the recent China trade spats with the US and Australia,” Stephen Innes of AxiCorp said in a report.
In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London lost 0.9% to 6,012.38 and Frankfurt's DAX sank 1.5% to 11,053.55. The CAC 40 in France declined 1.5% to 4,430.18.
On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 index was down 0.8% and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.7%.
In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6% to 2,867.92 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo declined 0.2% to 20,552.31. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.5% to 24,280.03.Associated Press
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday warned that “collateral damage” from trade spats between China and the United States were hurting smaller countries and threatening the global economy.
The virus has now infected more than 88,000 people and spread to over 60 countries after first emerging in China late last year. South Korea, the biggest nest of infections outside China, reported nearly 500 new cases on Monday, bringing its total past 4,000.
From the outset, European equities kicked lower on simmering US-China tensions with Frankfurt and Paris playing catch-up with London after a long holiday weekend.
The US economy unexpectedly added jobs in May after suffering record losses in the prior month, offering the clearest signal yet that the downturn triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic was probably over, though the road to recovery could be long.
Canadian plane and train maker Bombardier said on Friday it would cut 2,500 jobs, or about 11% of the workforce at its aviation unit, as the coronavirus pandemic’s crushing impact on the air industry adds to its long list of problems.
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced unique market pressures and challenges across industrial sectors. In the context of the real estate industry in the UAE, the crisis interrupted a process of steadily building renewed growth.
Germany has become the second major European Union (EU) economy to use a multi-billion-euro recovery plan to spur clean driving, with incentives for electric cars that should boost Volkswagen (VW) and Tesla, while polluting sport utility vehicles (SUVs) face higher taxes.