European nations are stepping up vaccination campaigns, but some are also restricting activities again, which investors fear could hurt the economy

London (AFP) - The eurozone’s main stock markets slipped Tuesday, as the spreading Covid crisis took the shine off upbeat survey data.

Meanwhile, oil prices rebounded despite the US releasing 50 million barrels of crude from its strategic reserves to blunt the commodity’s rising prices.

In afternoon trading Frankfurt dropped 0.7 percent and Paris shed 0.3 percent.

Europe is battling an upsurge in the pandemic that saw Austria return to a partial lockdown on Monday.

Belgium and the Netherlands are still reeling from recent violent protests against new anti-Covid measures.

Germany has warned its curbs – including barring the unvaccinated from certain public spaces – are not enough.

- ‘Investors in lockdown mode’ -

“It would appear European investors are (also) in lockdown mode,” Craig Erlam, analyst at OANDA trading group, told AFP.

Austria’s lockdown “was a shock to the system but Germany – should it follow – would be a hammer blow to the recovery.

“Thankfully, a number of other countries have a far less severe situation – but as we have seen, that can quickly change at this time of year,” Erlam added.

Nevertheless, eurozone economic recovery is again gaining pace in November, according to the IHS Markit purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which measures corporate confidence.

Yet the survey also highlighted increasing inflationary pressures, with prices and wages rising more steeply.

Britain’s PMI showed a modest slowdown on rising energy and wage bills.

US stocks opened mixed, with the Dow adding 0.1 percent.

- Turkey’s ‘economic war’ -

In foreign exchange, the dollar mostly extended gains as investors bet on quicker Federal Reserve monetary tightening after boss Jerome Powell was nominated for a second term.

The greenback topped 115 yen in Asian trades for the first time since 2017.

The euro dropped as low as $1.1226, last seen in July 2020, before bouncing back.

The Turkish lira plunged to record lows after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stuck to his support for interest rate cuts, warning his country was in a “war of economic independence”.

The Turkish currency exchanged hands at more than 13 lira to the dollar, a 15 percent fall, before recovering slightly from the historic drop.

Oil prices rebounded after President Joe Biden announced he has ordered the release of 50 million barrels of oil from the US strategic reserves in a coordinated attempt with other countries to tamp down soaring fuel prices.

They had fallen on speculation ahead of the announcement.

- Key figures around 1430 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,271.37 points

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.7 percent at 15,998.38

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.3 percent at 7,084.72

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.7 percent at 4,310.22

New York - Dow: UP 0.1 percent at 35,666.40

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.2 percent at 24,651.58 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.2 percent at 3,589.09 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: Closed for a holiday

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1250 from $1.1237 at 2200 GMT

Euro/pound: UP at 84.13 pence from 83.87 pence

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3369 from $1.3397

Dollar/yen: UP at 115.06 yen from 114.88 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.6 percent at $80.98 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.4 percent at $77.81 per barrel