Weak Chinese Export Data Jolts Global Markets

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Weak data about China’s exports in December 2018 shook global stock markets on Monday and pointed to continuing weakness in the country’s economy in 2019. Imports also contracted, painting a picture that investors wish they weren’t seeing.

Asian stock markets started the week primarily to the downside. The Shanghai Composite was down 0.73 percent as of 3:10 p.m. HK/SIN, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 1.57 percent. South Korea’s Kospi was 0.53 percent lower.

China’s exports were lower due to reduced demand for their most popular products, including iPhones and cars, which make up a bulk of the country’s exports. According to reports by Reuters, Chinese foreign direct investment into Europe and North America fell to a six-year low in 2018, plunging 73 percent. Specifically, Chinese investment in the U.S. fell by 83 percent, while Chinese investments in Canada expanded by 80 percent.

Oil prices were also lower as investors were spooked about the state of global trade and the slowdown that may be coming if a trade deal issssn’t made soon between the U.S. and China. U.S. WTI futures were down 1.49 percent to $50.82 per barrel, and Brent crude futures were down 1.34 percent to 59.67 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar started the week mixed, trading down 0.37 percent against the yen to 108.4. The greenback gained against the British pound in advance of the Brexit vote scheduled for tomorrow. The euro was also lower against the dollar, down 0.08 percent to $1.1459.

Sara Patterson has a Master’s Degree in political science and enjoys analyzing both current events and the international markets to get a fuller perspective of the currency market. Before turning to financial writing, she taught English writing skills to high-school age students. Sara’s work has been published on various financial and Forex blogs.