14 de enero de 2015 / 11:33 / en 3 años

Commodity slump hits European shares, ECJ opinion lends support

* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.6 pct after World Bank move

* Oil producers, miners lead declines amid commodities rout

* EU court gives support for ECB bond purchase programme (Adds detail, quote)

By Alistair Smout and Francesco Canepa

LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters) - European shares fell on Wednesday, mirroring a slump in copper and oil prices after the World Bank cut its global growth forecast for this year.

However, shares trimmed losses after an adviser to Europe’s top court said an ECB bond-buying programme was legal under some conditions, potentially smoothing the way for a widely anticipated quantitative easing package for the euro zone.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European shares was down 0.6 percent at 1,367.69 points at 1104 GMT.

Oil majors BP and Total fell 2.8 and 1.6 percent, while commodity firm Glencore dropped 9.8 percent, the index’s biggest faller.

Other miners such as Antofagasta, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto fell between 5 percent and 9 percent.

The World Bank on Tuesday lowered its global growth forecast for both 2015 and 2016 due to disappointing economic prospects in the euro zone, Japan and some major emerging economies that offset the benefit of lower oil prices.

“These growth fears are keeping markets busy and it is linked with the deflation question,” said Christian Gattiker, chief strategist and head of research at Bank Julius Baer.

“We have the stress in financial markets because it’s about the solvency and liquidity of oil producers.”

Oil producer Premier Oil fell 2.6 percent after saying it expected to book a $300 million impairment charge due to the plunge in oil prices and planned to cut jobs and investment to rein in costs.

Larger oil companies will provide their own trading updates in the coming weeks as the corporate earnings season in Europe gets underway.

A wave of stop-loss selling pushed London copper to 5-1/2 year lows on Wednesday, while Shanghai prices hit their ‘limit down’ after an oil rout slammed investment in commodities.

However, shares trimmed losses when the advocate general to the European Union’s highest court said a European Central Bank bond-buying plan floated in 2012 would not break EU law subject to certain conditions.

The non-binding opinion eased concerns about legal obstacles to any ECB plans to buy government bonds to lift inflation.

“As long as the conditions are met, its pretty clear so far that the ECB is happy to go ahead. It’s important politically and judicially that this ruling has been favourable,” Veronika Pechlaner, European fund manager at Ashburton, said.

An ECB official welcomed the ruling, but stressed it did not apply to “quantitative easing”, which some believe could occur as early as next week.

Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v

Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v

Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Gareth Jones and Crispian Balmer)

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