Growth fears, China equity plunge haunts world stocks

The euro sinks to near a 21-month low against the US dollar today hurt by a series of dovish signals from the European Central Bank. — Reuters pic

The bank indicated it would keep interest rates at historic lows at least until next year and potentially indefinitely and set out a new program to offer cheap loans to euro zone banks.

Chinese mainland markets were among Friday's worst performers, but the negative sentiment was also lingering over Japan and Hong Kong, with the Nikkei down 2.01 percent and the Hang Seng falling 1.91 percent. Global equities were lower after the European Central Bank stoked economic growth concerns.

Adding insult to injury, China's leading brokerage Citic Securities issued a rare "sell" rating on the Shanghai-listed shares of People's Insurance Group of China (PICC) sending them down nearly 10 percent.

Thursday trading saw wider selloffs in Europe and the US, with the gloomy global outlook pushing London's FTSE 100 down 0.53 percent and the Dow Jones falling 0.78 percent.

The euro sinks to near a 21-month low against the USA dollar today, hurt by a series of dovish signals from the European Central Bank.

Beijing reported exports in February tumbled 20.7 percent from a year earlier, far beneath forecasts of a 4.8 percent drop and more than erasing January's surprise jump.

Sydney sank one percent and Singapore 0.9 percent, with Seoul 1.3 percent off and Taipei 0.7 percent down.

This compares with estimates just last December of 1.7 percent for 2019 and 1.7 percent and 1.5 percent for the following two years.

More news: China’s advice to India, Pakistan: ‘Turn the page, transform crisis into opportunity’

USA stocks, which are in the midst of a mile recovery, took a beating following the deflating news from the European Central Bank.

The yen, a perceived safe haven, attracts demand in times of political tensions and market turmoil.

Investors who had been waiting for the jobs report to provide more clues on the state of the world's biggest economy were disappointed to learn USA nonfarm payrolls increased by 20,000 last month, trailing estimates for a 180,000 increase. There was also a chance the jobless rate could fall by more than forecast given the recent strength in employment.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was a shade lower at 97.515.

The Japanese yen advanced 0.4 percent to 111.12 per dollar. This really shows why the European Central Bank made such a dovish decision by introducing the TLTROs, and at the same time, it cut the growth and inflation forecast. "That is not good news for euro area banks or the euro".

Gold and the dollar typically move in opposite directions.

United States jobs report data out Friday.

US crude was last down 35 cents at $56.31 a barrel, while Brent crude fell 49 cents to $65.81.

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