Bourses seen lower as trade concerns linger

European bourses look set to begin Tuesday’s session on the back foot as trade concerns continue to worry global markets.

The German DAX is seen opening down 20 points at 12,760 while the U.K. FTSE and the French CAC are expected to open 15 points lower at 7,722 and 5,455 respectively. Meanwhile, the Italian FTSE MIB is anticipated to open closest to the flat line, up just 1 point at 22,005.

Strained trade relations between the U.S. and China continue to dominate the conversation around markets. On Monday, the White House said that it would continue to have a strong relationship with Canada, Mexico and the European Union, despite its recently-imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium exports.

Fresh news has come out of the European banking sector. The U.K. government is to sell part of its stake in Royal Bank of Scotland for approximately £2.6 billion ($3.5 billion), resulting in a loss as it returns the lender back to private ownership after its bail-out in 2008.

Meanwhile, French bank Societe Generale is to pay just over $1.3 billion in fines in France and the U.S. to settle civil and criminal charges relating to bribes paid to Libyan officials during the Gaddafi era and manipulating the Libor rate, according to the United States’ Department of Justice.

The Brussels Economic Forum begins on Tuesday, with speakers including Eurogroup President Mario Centeno and European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis.

On Monday, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said that he backed plans proposed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel for a European Investment Fund that could support financially weaker countries in the euro area.

Meanwhile, the ongoing Brexit process has met another stumbling block. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will not publish a report outlining a future U.K.-EU relationship ahead of a European Council meeting at the end of the month, the Financial Times reported on Monday. Business leaders met with May at Downing Street on Monday, pushing the importance of frictionless trade with the EU rather than tariffs.

With regards to data releases, the euro area composite PMI figures (covering both the manufacturing and services sector) for May are out on Tuesday morning, as well as retail sales data for April. France and Germany are also to release their composite PMI data for the month, while the U.K. will publish its services PMI.

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