European Shares Edge Decrease; German Industrial Manufacturing Disappoints By Investing.com

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© Reuters.

From Peter Nurse

Investing.com – European equity markets fell on Friday, hurt by concerns that the region’s inconsistent vaccination program will result in a slow recovery from the Covid pandemic.

At 4:05 a.m. ET (0905 GMT), Germany’s was down 0.1%, France’s was 0.1%, while the UK’s was down 0.3%.

The tone was set by a series of worse-than-expected figures for industrial production in the euro zone, with German production unexpectedly falling 1.6% for a second month in February and French production falling 4.7% instead of as forecast to grow by 0.5%.

“It would take an explosion in production and construction activity in March to prevent the German economy from shrinking in the first quarter of the year,” ING analyst Carsten Brzeski said in a statement to customers.

Continental Europe is struggling to cope with a third wave of the Covid-19 virus, exaggerated by the region’s lack of success in organizing a concerted vaccination program.

This was not aided by growing concerns about the safety of one of the most famous vaccines. Italy, Spain and Belgium, along with other European countries, have restricted use of the AstraZeneca (NASDAQ 🙂 vaccine, even after the European Medicines Agency reiterated on Wednesday that the drug’s benefits outweigh the risks of very rare cases of blood clots.

The lack of common guidelines across the EU on drug use can only increase public reluctance and slow down the chance of widespread vaccination in the region.

Economic news in other countries was more promising: China’s March rose at the fastest annual rate since July 2018, up 4.4% year-over-year, well above February’s 1.7% growth.

In company news Atlantia (MI 🙂 share rose 1.3% after Spanish infrastructure group ACS (MC 🙂 expressed interest in a stake in the Italian conglomerate’s motorway unit on Thursday.

Tui (DE 🙂 shares fell 6.4% after the travel company announced it would offer convertible bonds worth € 350 million to improve its liquidity position.

Airbus (PA 🙂 shares rose 3.1% to their highest level since the pandemic began after the French aircraft manufacturer reported slightly higher deliveries in the first quarter.

Oil prices fell Friday as traders tried to digest the competing influences of rising supplies and a global economic recovery that is gradually gaining traction.

Futures traded 0.4% lower at $ 59.36 a barrel while the contract fell 0.6% to $ 62.82.

Both contracts are on track to see a 2% to 3% drop this week after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russia, decided late last week to gradually increase supply by 2 million barrels a day to increase May and July.

Elsewhere, it fell 0.7% to $ 1,746.35 / ounce while trading 0.1% lower to $ 1.1895.

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