European shares lower on COVID surge in Chinawritten by Bella Palmer
Global markets are nervous about Beijing's move to further relax COVID curbs, as surging infections dimmed hopes of a swift recovery in the world's second-largest economy
European shares inched lower on Thursday, in their penultimate session of 2022, as soaring COVID cases in China dampened risk appetite across global markets.
The region-wide STOXX 600 edged 0.2% down. For the year so far, it has fallen 12.5%.
After a brief jump this week, global markets are nervous about Beijing's move to further relax COVID curbs, as surging infections dimmed hopes of a swift recovery in the world's second-largest economy.
The scale of the outbreak and doubts over official data prompted the United States, India, Italy, Taiwan and Japan to impose new travel rules on Chinese visitors. The European Union's Health Security Committee called an urgent meeting in Brussels to coordinate the bloc's response.
China-exposed luxury firms such as Cartier-owner Richemont and French group Kering fell 0.9% and 0.3%, respectively.
Energy stocks dipped 0.8% and miners fell 0.4%, tracking weakness in crude and base metal prices on concerns of demand recovery in top consumer China.
Consumer staples such as Diageo and Unilever fell 0.8% each.
In Spain, data showed retail sales fell 0.6% in November from a year earlier, after rising 1.0% in October. Spanish stocks dipped 0.3%.
In Germany, Europe's largest economy, exporters have modest hopes for next year, anticipating problems at major customers in China because of climbing COVID cases and rising prices making U.S. buyers cautious, the Federation of German Wholesale and Foreign Trade (BGA) said.
Miner Antofagasta slid 1.3% on its Los Pelambres operation in Chile's Coquimbo region being hit by a blockade.
Ferrexpo fell 0.7% on the detention of its controlling shareholder, billionaire Kostyantyn Zhevago, by French authorities. The iron pellet producer said the detention was unrelated to matters at the company.
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