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    Weak Chinese trade data rekindle global slowdown concerns

    US stocks retreated on Tuesday as energy shares fell following declines in oil prices. The dollar strengthened while treasury yields declined on renewed concern about global economic slowdown after weak trade data from China. China's exports dropped 25.4% in February from a year earlier, the biggest drop since May 2009, while imports fell 13.8% for a 16th consecutive monthly fall. According to live dollar index data the ICE US Dollar index, a measure of the dollar’s strength against a basket of six rival currencies, rose 0.1% to 97.188. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.6% settling at 16964.1. Chevron and Exxon Mobil stocks were the biggest decliners among Dow components. The S&P 500 closed 1.1% lower at 1979.26, led by 4.1% drop in energy sector. Shares of Seadrill Ltd tumbled 20.3%. Only utilities, consumer staples and telecom services managed to end in the positive territory among ten main sectors. In economic data, the small business index of National Federation of Independent Business fell in February to 92.91 from 93.91, indicating no strength in the small business sector. Today at 13:00 CET Mortgage applications will be released by the Mortgage Bankers’ Associations in US. At 16:00 CET January Wholesale Inventories will be published. The tentative outlook is positive.

    European stocks ended lower on Tuesday as commodity shares retreated following lower Chinese export data and resumption of oil decline. The euro weakened against the dollar to $1.1011 late Tuesday compared with $1.1022 late Monday with traders anticipating more monetary easing by the European Central Bank on Thursday. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 1%. Germany’s DAX 30 closed down 0.9% at 9692.82. France’s CAC 40 and UK’s FTSE 100 also lost 0.9% each. Miners were hardest hit after data showed Chinese exports fell 25.4% instead of expected 15% decline. China is a major consumer of metals. Shares of major mining companies BHP Billiton, Anglo American, Rio Tinto and Glencore fell 8.5 to 18.1 percent. Markets discounted positive economic data: 3.3% jump in Germany’s industrial production in January was sharply higher than the 0.5% expected rise, and euro-zone’s fourth quarter gross domestic product was confirmed at 0.3%. Today at 10:30 CET January Manufacturing and Industrial Production will be released in UK. The tentative outlook is positive.

    Asian stocks fell today following the lead of Chinese equities as investor confidence was undermined by disappointing trade report from China. Falling Chinese exports and imports spurred concerns about slowing global growth. Shanghai Composite Index was down 1.4%. Nikkei lost 0.8% today as yen strengthened on higher demand for haven assets.

    Today at 16:00 CET Bank of Canada interest rate decision will be announced. The central bank is expected to leave the interest rate unchanged at 0.5%.

    Oil futures prices are rising today as investors anticipate oil company defaults would result in crude oil output declines. May Brent crude fell 2.9% to $39.65 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange on Tuesday as concerns resurfaced about implementation of output freeze agreement between major oil producers after Kuwait’s oil minister said his country would not increase output only if all major producers, including Iran do the same. Iran has repeatedly stated it intends to raise crude oil output and exports to regain its market share. At 16:30 CET today US Crude Oil Inventories will be released by the Energy Information Administration. The American Petroleum Institute industry group report forecast US crude stocks grew by 4.4 million barrels last week while gasoline stocks decreased by 2.1 million barrels.

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