Markets Slide After Signs of Weakening Trade

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Markets sank in Europe on Wednesday morning after data published a day earlier pointed to weakening trade, slower manufacturing and increasing risk of a global recession.

By midday in Europe, London’s FTSE 100 had fallen 1.7 percent and the CAC 40 in France had dropped 1.6 percent. The DAX in Germany was 1.2 percent lower.

Markets in Asia had weakened slightly, but not to the same extent experienced in Europe. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed down 0.19 percent, while the Nikkei 225 finished 0.49 percent lower.

Futures indicated that markets in the United States would open lower.

The slide came the day after the World Trade Organization cut its forecast for trade growth. World trade in merchandise is expected to expand just 1.2 percent this year, in the weakest year since the heat of the financial crisis in 2009.

On Tuesday, a gauge of American manufacturing by the Institute for Supply Management showed that factories had slowed in September for the second straight month.

In Europe, Germany has become a point of concern, with its factory orders dropping as Chinese companies, hit by tariffs on exports to the United States, purchase less German machinery.

At the same time, Britain remains enmeshed in negotiations over Brexit and faces huge uncertainty over its future trading relationship with Europe. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to unveil a new proposal on Wednesday for the terms of leaving the European Union at the Conservative Party conference, but there is still a risk that Britain will leave the bloc at the end of the month without a deal.