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European stock futures largely flat; German industrial production edged higher - European stock markets are expected to open largely unchanged Wednesday, with positioning light as investors digest worsening economic conditions ahead of next week’s key central bank meetings.

At 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.1% higher, CAC 40 futures in France climbed 0.1%, while the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. fell 0.1%.

Stock gains in Europe Wednesday are likely to be limited after the release of weak trade data from China, Asia’s largest economy and a major trading market for Europe’s largest companies.

China’s trade balance fell to a surplus of $65.8 billion in May, its lowest level since April 2022, when COVID shut down many markets around the globe. This drop was largely driven by a bigger-than-expected 7.5% decline in exports in May from the same period last year, although imports also fell 4.5%.

The slump in exports is indicative of slowing economic growth in Europe and the U.S., China’s primary markets for locally produced goods.

Back in Europe, German industrial production rose just 0.3% on the month in April, an improvement from the previous month’s revised 2.1% slump, as Europe’s largest economy attempts to recover from its winter recession.

There are a number of ECB officials speaking Wednesday, and investors will be looking for further guidance ahead of next week’s policy-setting meeting of the European Central Bank.

The eurozone’s central bank is widely seen as continuing its rate-hiking cycle, with President Christine Lagarde cementing expectations by stating that it was too early to call a peak in core inflation despite "signs of moderation".

Australia's central bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points early Tuesday, raising speculation that the Bank of Canada might follow a similar path later on Wednesday.

Oil prices retreated Wednesday after the weak Chinese trade data increased concerns about a slowdown in the country's post-COVID economic recovery, undermining expectations that the world’s largest crude importer will drive oil demand to record highs this year.

Industry data released late Tuesday showed that U.S. crude inventories shrank more than expected last week, but an unexpected build in gasoline stocks hit sentiment in the middle of the U.S. driving season.

By 02:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.7% lower at $71.26 a barrel, while the Brent contract dropped 0.7% to $75.79.

These benchmarks have now reversed all the gains made earlier this week on the surprise announcement of additional supply cuts by Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of the OPEC cartel.

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