LONDON Global stock markets fell on Tuesday after another batch of weak data from China reinforced persistent concerns about a possible slowdown in the global economy.
China's February trade performance was far worse than economists expected, with exports tumbling the most in over six years, days after top leaders sought to reassure investors about the outlook for the world's second-largest economy.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 1.2 percent while the MSCI All-Country World index weakened 0.4 percent.
The safe-haven Japanese yen rose while the low-yielding euro gained against the dollar on Tuesday as the downbeat Chinese trade data fuelled concerns about the state of global demand, weighing on appetite for riskier assets and currencies.
"At the moment we're in a bear stock market. Everyone's looking for an excuse to sell out, and the reason today for a lot of investors is the weak China data," said Andreas Clenow, hedge fund principal and trader at ACIES Asset Management.
The soft Chinese data also impacted oil and metals prices. Oil prices also eased back after Kuwait said it would only agree to an output freeze if all major producers took part.
The MSCI Emerging Market index fell 0.7 percent while U.S. stock index futures also shed around 1 percent.
The euro's outlook rests largely on expectations the European Central Bank will announce more monetary stimulus measures on Thursday to boost ultra-low inflation and sluggish growth in the euro zone.
A small 10 basis point cut to push its deposit rate deeper into negative territory is a foregone conclusion while some type of adjustment of the bank's 1.5 trillion euro asset purchase programme is also near certain.
Nevertheless, investors expressed uncertainty over the extent of the ECB's likely new measures on Thursday.
"We think the central bank will once again struggle to beat high expectations, with the euro not likely to suffer significantly after the announcement," BNP Paribas analysts wrote in a note to clients.
(Additional reporting by Anirban Nag and Saikat Chatterjee; Editing by Catherine Evans)
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