There are a lot of recent worries that aren’t stimulating equity, as well as commodity markets, around the globe.
First, we have disappointing news out of the United Kingdom where gross domestic product (GDP) increased below expectations and only at one-tenth of 1 percent (0.1 percent) in the fourth quarter of 2009.
The increase in output was due mainly to increases in distribution, hotels and restaurants and government and other services.
Output of the service industries increased 0.1 percent. Output in the production industries increased 0.1 percent.
GDP decreased 3.2 percent in 2009 with year-over-year contraction in all sectors with manufacturing showing the biggest contraction at negative 10.8 percent.
The United Kingdom is still far from a sustainable recovery.
In Japan, Standard & Poor’s cut its outlook on Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) to negative from stable.
“The Japanese government's diminishing economic policy flexibility may lead to a downgrade unless measures can be taken to stem fiscal and deflationary pressures,” S&P said.
In China, the People’s Bank of China has instructed China Citic Bank Corp. and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. to raise their reserve ratios by an extra 0.5 percentage point.
The central bank on Jan. 12 ordered all banks to boost their reserve ratio by 50 basis points starting Jan. 18.
Consequently, China’s stocks fell to a three-month low Tuesday as banks and developers declined on speculation officials will take further steps to rein in credit growth and prevent asset bubbles.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 2.42 percent and the Shenzhen Composite was down 3.14 percent.
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