BEIJING — Global stocks sagged Wednesday after the IMF’s lower growth forecast added to anxiety over a weaker Chinese economy.
In early trading, Germany’s DAX tumbled 2.4 percent to 9,436.57 and France’s CAC-40 shed 2.2 percent to 4,176.45. Britain’s FTSE 100 sank 2 percent to 5,762.07. Wall Street looked set for losses. Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average were down 1.9 percent at 15,617.00 and S&P 500 futures lost 1.8 percent to 1,838.60.
The International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for this year’s global economic growth to 3.4 percent from its October outlook of 3.6 percent. The IMF downgraded the outlook for developing economies to 4.3 percent growth from a forecast of 4.5 percent in October. Earlier this month, the World Bank cut its global growth forecast to 2.9 percent from last June’s 3.3 percent outlook.
The world’s second-largest economy cooled further in the latest quarter, dragging 2015’s growth to a 25-year low of 6.9 percent. The slowdown has dampened demand for goods from oil to iron to heavy machinery. Anxiety over China’s outlook has contributed to oil prices falling to 12-year lows.
“The stabilisation we saw yesterday now appears to have only been a pause” in volatility for financial markets, said IG analyst Angus Nicholson in a report. “China’s somewhat mystifying 3 percent rally in the Shanghai Composite was quickly lost at the open, killing sentiment across the whole Asian region.”
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 3.7 percent to 16,416.19 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng retreated 3.8 percent to 18,886.30. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 1 percent to 2,976.69 and South Korea’s Kospi was off 2.3 percent at 1,845.45. Australia’s ASX/S&P 200 shed 1.3 percent to 4,841.50. India’s Sensex was down 1.9 percent at 24,005.56. Markets in Southeast Asia also retreated.
U.S. stocks struggled through turbulent trading Tuesday and eked out small gains, led by utility and consumer stocks. The Dow rose as much as 183 points in the first minutes of trading Tuesday. Gains faded in the afternoon before a late spurt of buying. The Dow ended up 27.94 points, or 0.2 percent, at 16,016.02. The S&P 500 rose one point to 1,881.33. The Nasdaq composite index fell 11.47 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,476.95. Major indexes had plunged Friday, and the Dow and S&P 500 are coming off their worst opening weeks of a year in history.