London open: Shares make muted start as China data hits miners

by | Aug 8, 2023

(Sharecast News) – It was a subdued start for UK equity indices on Tuesday as weaker-than-expected economic data out of China dragged mining stocks into the red.
Poor UK retail sales figures also dampened sentiment in the market, with the FTSE 100 trading 0.1% lower at 7,546.65 by 0900 BST.

Overnight, China’s customs administration reported a 14.5% fall in exports for the month of July, following a 12.4% drop in June and worse than the consensus estimate of -13.2%. Imports also reduced by 12.4% after a 6.8% fall in June (consensus: -5.6%).

“Exports are now falling in all of China’s significant markets, except Russia, meaning that China will need to rely more on domestic demand to stabilise growth in H2,” said Duncan Wrigley, chief China+ economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

“Policymakers appear determined to allow household spending and business investment to take the lead in this recovery cycle, even if that means a drawn-out, ‘tortuous’ upturn.”

On home shores, the British Retail Consortium reported that annual retail sales growth slowed to just 1.5% in July, down from 4.9% in June. Like-for-like sales also slowed, from 4.2% to 1.8%.

Glencore leads miners lower, Abrdn sinks

Glencore, Anglo American, Antofagasta and Rio Rinto were all trading lower early on.

Glencore was the worst performer of the lot after reporting that adjusted core earnings halved in the first six months of the year. The company blamed macro conditions on price reductions in copper, cobalt, nickel and zinc.

Shares in Abrdn plunged around 9% following the release of the asset manager’s first-half results. The company cited “challenging market conditions” and a “risk-off environment” as it reported net outflows of £4.4bn.

Banking stocks were also providing a drag on the UK’s benchmark index, with Lloyds, HSBC and Standard Chartered all losing ground.

Hotels operator IHG was trading higher after announcing a sharp jump in half-year profit as the travel sector continued to rebound from the Covid pandemic. Operating profit at the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn owner rose 62% to $584m.

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