Stock Markets25 minutes ago (May 17, 2021 02:02AM ET)© Reuters.
By Peter Nurse
Investing.com – European stock markets are seen edging lower at the open Monday, as investors weigh concerns over a rise in global inflation as well as disappointing Chinese economic data.
Earlier Monday, data showed that Chinese industrial production grew 9.8% year-on-year in April, a healthy increase but lower than March’s 14.1%, and retail sales increased 17.7% in April year-on-year, below March’s 34.2% growth.
The data showed that China’s economy, the second largest in the world, is continuing to grow but the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is uneven and still has a long way to go.
European stock markets struggled last week after U.S. consumer prices jumped at the fastest rate since 2008, increasing worries that the Federal Reserve could be forced to start tapering its easy monetary policy earlier than guided.
Data Monday suggested inflation was a global phenomenon with Japan’s wholesale prices jumping 3.6% in April from a year earlier. Italian consumer price data are due later in the session, the highlight of Monday’s thin European economic data slate.
In corporate news, Ryanair (LON:RYA) reported a record annual after-tax loss of 815 million euros ($989 million) on Monday after Covid-19 restrictions forced it to scrap over 80% of flights, but the Irish airline said there were signs the recovery had begun.
Oil prices edged lower Monday as new Covid-19 restrictions in parts of Asia raised concerns of reduced demand in the region.
Worries are growing that the highly transmissible coronavirus variant which has hit India so hard is spreading to other countries. Singapore and Taiwan, are seeing new outbreaks, while Japan has further expanded a state of emergency casting fresh doubt over its ability to host the Tokyo Olympics in July.
That said, losses are small as China and the U.S., the two biggest oil consumers in the world, and most of Western Europe are reopening in the wake of successful Covid-19 vaccination programs.
U.S. crude futures traded 0.3% lower at $65.19 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.3% to $68.47. The two contracts jumped nearly 2.5% on Friday and managed to book a small gain last week, marking a third consecutive weekly increase.