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World shares sink after China reports slowdown in exports

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Shares were lower in Europe and Asia on Monday, extending the latest losses on Wall Street after China reported a slowdown in exports.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany‘s DAX lost 0.9 percent to 10,791.30 and the CAC 40 in France fell 1 percent to 4,734.02. The FTSE 100 in Britain dropped 1 percent to 6,847.09. Wall Street looked set for a downbeat start to the week with the Dow future contract down 1 percent and the contract for the S&P 500 also 1 percent lower.

THE DAY IN ASIA: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index lost 1.4 percent to 26,298.33 while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.7 percent to 2,535.77. The Kospi in South Korea declined 0.5 percent to 2,064.52 and Australia’s S&P ASX 200 was flat at 5,773.40. India’s Sensex dropped 0.4 percent to 35,853.56. Shares also fell in Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Japan’s markets were closed for a holiday.

CHINA TRADE: China said Monday that its exports to the U.S. contracted in December although its overall trade surplus with the U.S. hit a record $323 billion in 2018. Exports to the U.S. rose 11.3 percent to $478.4 billion for the year despite punitive tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump in a fight over Chinese technology ambitions. The customs data showed imports of American goods rose just 0.7 percent over 2017, reflecting the impact of Beijing’s retaliatory tariffs and encouragement to importers to buy more from non-U.S. suppliers.

ANALYST’S VIEWPOINT: “Risk has continued to veer averse today as pre-earnings jitters amid a torrent of turbulent crosscurrents have investors adopting a more defensive approach even after the Fed indicated patience on further rate hikes,” Stephen Innes of Oanda said in a commentary.

BREXIT TALK: British Prime Minister Theresa May planned to tell lawmakers Monday that she has received further assurances about her Brexit deal from the European Union, in a last-ditch attempt to stave off a crushing defeat for the unpopular agreement. May was due to make a statement in the House of Commons on the eve of a vote set for Tuesday in Parliament on her EU divorce deal. She contends that defeating the deal could open the way for pro-EU legislators to block Brexit, with “catastrophic” results for Britons’ faith in democracy.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil gave up 97 cents to $50.62 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 1.9 percent to settle at $51.59 per barrel on Friday. Brent crude, the international standard, lost $1.01 to $59.47 per barrel. It sank 1.9 percent to $60.48 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar was trading at 108.11 yen, down from 108.48 yen on Friday. The euro slipped to $1.1457 from $1.1466.

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