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EU concerned over impact of market slump

European finance ministers said a global stock-market slump and an economic slowdown in the United States threaten to slow growth in Europe more than forecast.

“There is great concern about the financial crisis,” Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders said before a meeting of European Union finance ministers in Brussels yesterday. “There is a risk of an economic slowdown” in Europe. A global stock-market rout continued yesterday as Asian equities tumbled by the most since 1990. The slump has wiped more than $5 trillion from share markets around the world this year on concern global growth is faltering. Luxembourg Finance Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said forecasts for European expansion will need to be lowered and that an economic contraction in the US can’t be ruled out. The decline in global stocks reflects “a brutal correction in the markets,” French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said yesterday on Europe 1 radio. “On the stock market, one must look at long-term trends.” Equity-market volatility has heightened “uncertainty” on the outlook for economic growth in the 15 nations that use the euro, according to an EU briefing document obtained by Bloomberg News. “We have to be concerned, but a lot less than the Americans, on whom the deficiencies, against which we have warned repeatedly, are taking bitter revenge,” Juncker said yesterday. (