Europe, Asia stocks retreat on lack of G20 action

London (AFP) –


European and Asian stock markets slid on Monday after a key weekend meeting of finance ministers failed to quash concerns about stalling global growth.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 index led Europe lower, sliding by 1.6 percent in midday deals.

In Asia, Chinese shares closed down 2.86 percent, as traders remained unconvinced that the G20 group of top economic nations had promised enough to revive the world's sagging economy.

"European equities are trading lower on the back of... the G20 meeting concluding in Shanghai without any major breakthrough where stimulating global growth is concerned," said Markus Huber, a trader at City of London Markets.

"Souring the mood somewhat not only in Asia but also in Europe is the fact that China has once again fixed its currency lower... This does not only keep the spotlight on a slowing Chinese economy but also creates further uncertainty going forward."

Adding to the unease was official data Monday showing that eurozone inflation in February fell sharply to negative 0.2 percent, in the clearest sign yet that several rounds of stimulus measures by the European Central Bank (ECB) are not working.

Pressure has been mounting on central bankers to do more to stimulate growth and reassure investors after financial markets posted one of the worst starts to the year in living memory.

But G20 ministers disagreed over the best way to stem the turmoil, and their final text did not include a call for coordinated action that many had hoped.

The communique said the group "will use all policy tools -- monetary, fiscal and structural -- individually and collectively" to build confidence and strengthen the recovery.

- Irish uncertainty -

Back in Europe, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny faced a struggle to form a new government after apparently failing to win a majority, as counting continued after a weekend vote marked by anger against austerity.

Market reaction was muted, with 10-year Irish government bonds almost unchanged and the main Dublin stock index down only slightly.

"The Irish bond market reaction has been remarkably muted," said Brenda Kelly, head analyst at traders London Capital Group, noting however that this could be more down to expected stimulus by the ECB "than any real confidence" in Irish politics.

Global stock markets had been buoyed Friday by firmer oil prices and after brighter-than-expected US growth data.

"It could be argued some of these (pre-weekend) gains were as a result of some optimism about this weekend’s events in Shanghai as G20 finance ministers met to discuss the global economy," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

- Key figures around 1115 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.6 percent at 6,057.56 points

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 1.6 percent at 9,359.37

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.7 percent at 4,383.24

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 1.1 percent at 2,895.86

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.00 percent at 16,026.76 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 2.86 percent at 2,687.98 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 1.30 percent at 19,111.93 (close)

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.3 percent at 16,639.97 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0900 from $1.0935 on Friday

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 113.10 yen from 113.97 yen