© Reuters. Screen showing stock movement on the German DAX on Thursday. Photograph: Reuters.
(Reuters) – European shares fell to their lowest levels in more than a year on Thursday, as slowing business activity in a region heightened concerns about growth, while German shares fell 1.8 percent after the country launched the “alert phase” of its emergency gas plan.
The European index fell 0.8 percent, with euro zone banks losing 4.5 percent. Bond yields in the eurozone also fell, as did the euro.
The German index fell to its lowest level in more than three months as falling Russian supplies prompted the announcement of the warning phase on Thursday – the latest escalation in the confrontation between Europe and Moscow since the Russian invasion of Ukraine exposed the extent of the bloc’s dependence on Russian gas supplies.
A survey by global agency Standard & Poor’s showed that business growth in the euro zone slowed significantly this month, much more than expected, with consumers worried about rising prices preferring to stay at home and postpone purchases to save money. The Purchasing Managers’ Index, which covers the conglomerate’s dominant service industry, fell to 52.8 from 56.1.
Other sectors, such as automakers, mining and oil and gas companies, were affected, with their shares falling between 2 and 3.6 percent.
Only the healthcare and utilities sector and some luxury companies were the gainers on Thursday.
(Prepared by Rehab Alaa for the Arab Newsletter – Editing by Ali Khafaji)