RPT-GLOBAL MARKETS-Europe struggles after Chinese stocks slide

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
RPT-GLOBAL MARKETS-Europe struggles after Chinese stocks slide
Credit: © Reuters.

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* Chinese stocks slide 6 percent

* Oil and copper at 6-year lows

* Debate intensifies over when Fed will start raising rates

By Jamie McGeever

LONDON, Aug 18 (Reuters) - A 6 percent fall in Chinese shares on Tuesday hit Asian stocks and left European equities struggling for gains while emerging market currencies and oil prices touched multi-year lows.

A broad measure of Asian stocks fell to its lowest in two years and U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street SPc1 .

"The late rout in Chinese stocks appears to have knocked sentiment in Europe this morning. The commodity sell-off is also weighing on sentiment today," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda in London.

Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.3 percent .FTSE . The pan-European FTSEurofirst index of 300 leading shares eked out gains of 0.2 percent .FTEU3 , having been in negative territory much of the morning. Germany's .GDAXI fell 0.1 percent and France's CAC 40 .FCHI was down a quarter of a percent.

Earlier, China's main Shanghai Composite and Shenzhen 300 indices both lost 6.2 percent .SSEC .CSI300 as investors bet that demand in China will cool further.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 1 percent to its lowest since August 2013. Japan's Nikkei .N225 dipped 0.3 percent.

Thai shares .SET hit a 1-1/2-year low and the baht a six-year low after a bomb blast in Bangkok on Monday killed 19 people, including three foreign tourists.

The worries over China came on a day when trade in the yuan was relatively calm after Beijing fixed the currency's exchange rate marginally higher for the third successive session.

China's central bank on Tuesday set the yuan's midpoint CNY=SAEC near Monday's closing price at 6.3966 per dollar. In the spot market, the yuan closed flat at 6.3938 CNY=CFXS .

Emerging market currencies were weak across the board. In Turkey, where Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was set to give up trying to form a government , the lira hit a record low , and the South African rand slid to a 14-year low ZAR= against a firm dollar.

"The weakness of sentiment in emerging market FX is striking," Societe Generale (PARIS: SOGN ) currency strategists said in a note to clients on Tuesday.

"Fear of a resumption of significant capital outflows if the Fed does raise rates next month as well as fear of further yuan weakness and concern about the sluggish pace of global growth are all delivering persistent broad-based weakness."

MSCI's main index of emerging market shares .MSCIEF fell 0.8 percent.

In developed markets, the euro slipped 0.2 percent to $1.1060 EUR= and the yen was flat at 124.30 yen JPY= .

The British pound hit a seven-week high above $1.57 GBP= after UK inflation came in higher than forecast.

Investors will look to U.S. inflation data and minutes of the latest Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting, both being issued on Wednesday, as they ponder when the Fed will begin raising interest rates.

Markets are still not fully convinced the Fed will raise rates in September, but most investors are betting a rate hike will occur by the end of year. The yield on U.S. 10-year Treasuries was 1 basis point higher at 2.16 percent US10YT=RR .

Commodity prices remained under pressure from worries about growth slowing in China. Brent oil futures LCOc1 fell 0.2 percent to $48.64 per barrel, edging closer to a six-month intraday low of $48.24 touched last week.

U.S. crude futures fell 0.4 percent to $41.79 CLc1 , having hit a 6-1/2-year low on Friday.

Copper futures CMCU3 touched a fresh six-year low at $5,012 a tonne before recovering to $5,030, down 1.7 percent.

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