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Global Stocks Muted as China's Export Growth Stalls

By Anna Isaac 

Global stocks were muted Tuesday as China's exports grew at the slowest pace in three years, adding to concerns about a wider global slowdown.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked down 0.2%. The Shanghai Composite Index closed for the day down 0.3%, while the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 index also edged 0.2% lower.

Exports from China climbed by 0.5% last year, a contrast with 2018's expansion of nearly 10%, according to data released Tuesday. Imports dropped 2.8% last year, after surging 16% in 2018.

While the slowdown comes amid a two-year trade war between the world's largest economies, China's foreign trade revived in December as tensions ebbed following signals that the Washington was nearing a trade deal with Beijing. Investors in recent days have been cautiously optimistic about that accord as they await more information on the specific terms of the agreement.

China has committed to buying almost $80 billion of additional manufactured goods from the U.S. over the next two years, Reuters reported on Tuesday. The Asian giant would also purchase more than $50 billion more in energy supplies, and boost spending on U.S. services by roughly $35 billion, the news agency said, citing a person with knowledge of the matter.

"The overall mood music is positive, but the key thing is what the actual wording of the agreement is," said Edward Park, deputy chief investment officer in London for Brooks Macdonald Asset Management. "Investors need to see real progress on U.S.-China."

Separately, China's currency strengthened to its strongest level since July in offshore trading after the U.S. on Monday dropped it from a list of currency manipulators, days before the likely signing of a phase-one trade deal.

Later in the day, major U.S. banks including JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup will report earnings. The banks are closely watched by investors as their results offer a barometer of the health of the U.S. economy. Delta Air Lines is also scheduled to report.

The U.S. Labor Department is also poised to release December's consumer-price growth data. Economists expect the consumer-price index to have climbed 0.3%.

Write to Anna Isaac at anna.isaac@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 14, 2020 06:42 ET (11:42 GMT)

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