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World markets dive as Trump sparks trade, North Korea worries

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A coin for the upcoming US-North Korea summit is seen in Washington, DC, on May 21, 2018. A commemorative coin featuring US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has been struck by the White House Communications Agency ahead of their summit meeting. The coin depicts Trump and Kim, described as North Korea’s “Supreme Leader,” in profile facing each other in front of a background of US and North Korean flags. The words “Peace Talks” are emblazoned at the top of the front of the coin with the date “2018” beneath. The summit is expected to take place in Singapore on June, 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / STR

Global stocks sank Wednesday after US President Donald Trump said he was not satisfied with talks that are aimed at averting a trade war with China.

Equities were also dented by poor eurozone economic data, and as Trump cast doubt on a planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“Trump (is) continuing to drive uncertainty over global trade,” said analyst Joshua Mahony at trading firm IG.

“European markets are following their Asian counterparts lower, as a pessimistic tone from Trump is compounded by downbeat economic data,” he added.

Markets had surged Monday after US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said they had agreed to pull back from imposing threatened tariffs on billions of dollars of goods, and continue talks on a variety of trade issues.

However, Trump has declared that he was “not satisfied” with the status of the talks, fuelling worries that the world’s top two economies could still slug out an economically painful trade war.

Sentiment dealt a blow
Investors sought to dump risky equities as they fretted over the news, as Trump also warned that there was “a very substantial chance it won’t work out” when asked about next month’s landmark talks with Kim.

He added the summit could be delayed or even called off if the North did not agree to give up its nuclear weapons.

“Markets traded lower … as risk sentiment was dealt a blow by Trump who said that he was not pleased with how the talks with China went and that he was not satisfied,” wrote FX Pro analysts.

“He also said that there was a substantial chance that the summit with North Korea in June would not work out.

“This led to a fall in US indices … and a rebound higher in the dollar.”

In late morning European trade, Frankfurt sank 1.5 percent and Paris shipped 1.2 percent, while London lost 0.8 percent on news also of slowing UK annual inflation.

And the euro briefly sank to $1.1699 — the lowest level since mid-November.

‘Worrying picture’
Adding to nerves, a key survey showed Wednesday that the pace of growth of eurozone business activity continued to slow in May, as companies became less optimistic about the state of the economy in Europe.

Data monitoring company IHS Markit also flagged strong slowdowns in France and Germany, though employment growth in the 19-country single currency bloc remained robust.

The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) by IHS Markit fell to 54.1 in May, which was lower than forecast by analysts. A figure over 50 indicates the economy is expanding.

“A whole raft of eurozone PMI surveys have continued to shed a worrying picture of economic progress within the region,” noted analyst Mahony.

Later on, dealers will digest minutes from the US Federal Reserve’s most recent policy meeting for some clarity on plans for raising interest rates this year.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Turkey’s embattled lira lost over 3.5 percent in value to hit new historic dollar lows, as markets watched to see if the nation’s central bank will take emergency action to buttress the currency.

– Key figures around 1030 GMT –
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.8 percent at 7,814.81 points

Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 1.2 percent at 5,572.51

Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 1.5 percent at 12,970.92

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 1.3 percent at 3,540.21

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.2 percent at 22,689.74 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 1.8 percent at 30,665.64 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 1.4 percent at 3,168.96 (close)

New York – Dow: DOWN 0.7 percent at 24,834.41 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1729 from $1.1779 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3463 from $1.3427

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 111 yen from 111.05 yen

Oil – Brent North Sea: DOWN 69 cents at $78.88 per barrel

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 47 cents at $71.73


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