Global Shares Decline on Interest Rate, Recession Worries

TOKYO (AP) -- Global shares were mostly lower Wednesday, as pessimism prevailed about higher interest rates ahead and Wall Street continued a late-summer slump.

France's CAC 40 edged down 0.2% in early trading to 6,090.07, while Germany's DAX shed 0.3% to 12,832.11. Britain's FTSE 100 lost 08% to 7,242.88. U.S. shares were set to be little changed with Dow futures inching up less than 0.1% to 31,174.00. S&P 500 futures were up 0.1% to 31,171.00.

Shares fell in Tokyo, Sydney, South Korea and Hong Kong, but were little changed in Shanghai. Oil prices fell, while the Japanese yen continued to decline against the U.S. dollar to about 144 yen.

"The mood in markets is defensive ahead of key central bank decisions," said Anderson Alves at ActivTrades.

Rising energy prices are adding to the worries about recessions in some parts of the world, he said.

In Japan, the government is giving 50,000 yen ($350) to needy families, to help cope with daily needs and energy prices in a move also designed to boost the lagging economy.

"The real solution to this inflation crisis obviously lies on the supply side, in terms of energy and other key goods. Yet that really takes us a step away from inflation-targeting and back towards an echo of how macro-stability was previously achieved," according to RaboResearch.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 shed 0.7% to finish at 27,430.30. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 1.4% to 6,729.30. South Korea's Kospi slid 1.4% to 2,376.46. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dipped 0.8% to 19,044.30, while the Shanghai Composite was little changed, inching up less than 0.1% at 3,246.29.

China's trade weakened in August as high energy prices, inflation and anti-virus measures weighed on global and Chinese consumer demand, and imports of Russian oil and gas surged, China's customs data showed. Exports rose 7% over a year ago, decelerating from July's 18% expansion, while imports contracted by 0.2%, compared with the previous month's already weak 2.3% growth.

Demand for Chinese exports has softened as Western economies cool and the U.S. Federal Reserve and central banks in Europe and Asia raise interest rates to contain surging inflation. Repeated closures of China's cities to fight virus outbreaks has weighed on Chinese consumers' willingness to spend.

The Federal Reserve has indicated it will not let up anytime soon on raising interest rates to bring down the highest inflation in decades.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude fell 78 cents to $86.10 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 77 cents to $92.06 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar rose to 144.02 Japanese yen from 142.76 yen. The euro was little changed at 99 cents.