European shares fall to 2-month lows on China concerns

viernes 11 de diciembre de 2015 13:45 GYT

* FTSEurofirst make largest weekly drop since August

* Weak yuan, oil prices put pressure on market

* Old Mutual drops on South Africa links (Adds closing prices)

By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Danilo Masoni

LONDON/MILAN, Dec 11 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Friday on concerns that weakness in the Chinese yuan could weigh on the global economy, while the slump in oil prices added to the gloomy mood before a widely expected rise in U.S. interest rates next week.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 2.14 percent to its lowest level in around two months, and made its weakest weekly perfomance since August. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index < .STOXX50E> declined 2.04 percent.

"We have the yuan at 4-1/2 year lows and that is causing unease in China and abroad. Last time the yuan fell like this, it caused a jolt for markets, and anyone exporting out to China, like the auto makers and luxury brands, will feel the pain from a weaker yuan," Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC, said.

That could hurt export-oriented companies in sectors such as automotive, luxury goods and commodities, which were among the top decliners in Europe. Shares of French carmaker Renault , watchmaker Swatch, fashion house Hugo Boss and BHP Billiton were all down 3.3 to 5.3 percent.

The FTSEurofirst fell 4.1 percent this week and is also down 7.9 percent since the start of December, after the European Central Bank (ECB) disappointed some investors with only limited new economic stimulus measures this month.   Continuación...