Europe: Shares slip on inflation worries, Germany leads fall

EUROPEAN shares slid on Wednesday and bond yields rallied after a sharp rise in UK inflation brought the spotlight back to more monetary tightening amid data which showed euro zone economic growth was slightly less robust in the second quarter.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 shed 0.9 per cent, clocking its biggest one-day percentage fall in more than a month. The index also snapped a five-day winning streak.

Data showed British consumer price inflation rose to 10.1 per cent in July, its highest since February 1982.

Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.3 per cent.

"The market is seeing the UK experience as a harbinger of what is to come in the EU," said Stuart Cole, chief macro economist at Equiti Capital.

Euro zone government bond yields jumped after the inflation reading, while investors also turned their focus to data which showed economic growth in the bloc was less-than-expected in the second quarter but still strong, and employment rose again.

European bourses have bounced off June lows, but have been struggling to make headway in August on growing concerns of a recession, high inflation and low water levels in the Rhine river.

The river is Germany's main commercial artery, which is now experiencing a block, with 20 ships stuck in traffic after a vessel's engine failure closed part of the waterway.

German stocks fell 2.0 per cent.

"Rhine troubles add to pressure on the German industry," said Andrew Kenningham, chief Europe economist at Capital economics.

He noted that even if it is a smaller problem for Germany compared to the gas crisis or a recent shortage of semiconductors, if it persists until December it could weigh on economic growth and add to inflation.

Money markets in the euro zone, meanwhile, continue to fully price in a 50-basis point European Central Bank rate hike in September.

Among stocks, Uniper dropped 12.1 per cent after the German utility reported a first-half net loss of 12.3 billion euros (S$17.3 billion), mainly due to lower Russian gas supplies.

Sanofi fell 5.7 per cent after the French healthcare company stopped further work on amcenestrant, a treatment once seen to have strong commercial potential in breast cancer, after a second trial failure.

Switzerland's biggest life insurer Swiss Life rose 0.3 per cent after posting a 4 per cent rise in its half-yearly net profit.

Danish brewer Carlsberg jumped 3.9 per cent as it said it had not seen rising living costs impacting beer sales. REUTERS


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