Chinese slowdown fears hurt miners


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The Independent Online

Spooked investors dumped mining stocks today as the latest worries over a slowdown in China gripped markets.

Miners — nearly 9 per cent of the blue-chip benchmark’s value — accounted for the top five fallers, as dealers responded to a dramatic 18.1 per cent year on year fall in Chinese exports.

The far worse than expected decline for the world’s second biggest economy came as Japan cut its growth estimate for the October-December quarter to 0.7 per cent from 1 per cent, and unveiled a record current account deficit.

Any sign of a slowdown in China dents industrial metal prices and spells bad news for raw materials stocks. The London Metal Exchange’s three-month copper contract fell as much as 4% to its lowest level since last June.

Aluminium, nickel and zinc prices also fell, as markets absorbed the first ever debt default in China’s bond market, heightening concerns over financial stability.

The growth worries also hit Brent crude oil, which slipped 90 cents to $108.11 (£64.90) a barrel.