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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

World stocks shrug off slowing China trade growth to hit record

MSCI's all-country world index ticks up to set a new record high

Global stock markets have not been fazed by Chinese slowdown.  Fernando Alvarado / EPA
Global stock markets have not been fazed by Chinese slowdown. Fernando Alvarado / EPA

Global stocks inched up to a new record high on Tuesday, shrugging off weaker-than-expected Chinese trade data that clouded an otherwise bright outlook for global growth.

Wall Street was expected to open flat to marginally lower, according to index futures, after slight falls on European bourses and modest gains in Asia.

Chinese imports and exports both fell well short of forecasts last month and growth in overall trade, while still a healthy 8.8 per cent, was its slowest this year.

Trade in Germany, Europe's powerhouse economy, slowed abruptly in June - another sign that demand may be starting to flag just as central banks contemplate scaling back stimulus.

However, MSCI's all-country world index ticked up to set a new record high at 480.87 points. It was last up less than 0.1 per cent at 480.83 points.

The index, which tracks shares in 46 countries, is up for a 10th consecutive month and is on track for its longest monthly winning streak since 2003.

Shares across the globe have been hitting record highs in record low volatility, supported by a benign environment for global growth.

The ratings agency Fitch this week lifted its outlook for the world economy for this year and next.

"Data continue to suggest a synchronised global expansion across both advanced and emerging market economies. Spill-overs from the rebound in emerging market demand are reflected in the fastest growth in world trade since 2010," said the Fitch chief economist Brian Coulton.

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The pan-European STOXX 600 index was last down less than 0.2 per cent, with miners among the losers as the Chinese data weighed on copper prices.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan proved relatively resilient, inching up 0.2 per cent and back toward decade highs.

South Korea dipped 0.2 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei eased 0.3 per cent and China's main markets edged up 0.1 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed up 0.6 per cent.

In currency markets, the dollar dipped for a second consecutive day after rising sharply on Friday following stronger-than-expected US jobs numbers, which some analysts said bolstered the case for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates further.

However, many in markets remain unpersuaded the Fed, having raised rates twice this year, will hike again in 2017.

The dollar index, which plumbed 15-month lows last week, was down 0.1 per cent. The euro gained 0.2 per cent to US$1.1811 while the yen rose 0.4 per cent to 110.34 to the dollar .

Sterling was up 0.1 per cent at $1.3045.

German 10-year government bond yields, the benchmark for borrowing costs in the euro zone, held close to their lowest in more than a month at 0.46 per cent, supported by expectations that any withdrawal of European Central Bank stimulus would be gradual.

Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, dipped 11 cents to $52.26 a barrel. An industry source familiar with the matter told Reuters that the Saudi state oil company Aramco will cut allocations to its customers next month by at least 520,000 barrels a day.

"Support is coming from a stabilising US rig count, falling US inventories and the Saudi cut in exports," said Ole Hansen, the head of commodity strategy at Denmark's Saxo Bank.

"But against this we still have robust production growth from the United States, Libya and Nigeria."

Copper fell 0.2 per cent to just below $6,400 a tonne after Chinese year-on-year imports of the metal fell.

Gold rose 0.6 pe rcent to $1,265 an ounce as the dollar weakened.