The main CAC 40 index fell around 10:20 GMT by 0.87%, to 7,284.27 points. On Monday, it started the week with a tiny increase of 0.12%, to 7,348.84 points, in very low trading volumes.

On Tuesday, the absence of many investors due to the summer holidays and the Assumption holiday may exacerbate the variations.

After a start to the week marked by fears about the financial health of Country Garden, one of China's largest real estate groups that announced the suspension of a dozen bonds from Monday, China continues to worry investors on Tuesday.

Retail sales, the main indicator of household consumption, rose only 2.5% year-on-year in July, according to official figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), less than expected by analysts polled by Bloomberg.

In addition, loans to households last month reached their weakest level since 2009, a sign of sluggish consumption in China.

To support activity, China's central bank on Tuesday lowered a benchmark rate for medium-term loans and injected 400 billion yuan (50.4 billion euros) into the economy.

The aim of these measures is to "give a boost to its economy, which has not only not met the expectations of a great post-Covid recovery at all, but is facing a worsening housing crisis, the gloom of consumers and investors" who avoid Chinese assets, says Ipek Ozkardeskaya, Swissquote Bank analyst.

In the UK, the unemployment rate rose to 4.2% for the three months to the end of June, compared to the previous three months - the highest in nearly two years.

Luxury at half-mast

Stocks in the luxury sector, where a large part of sales are in China, fell on Tuesday.

Around 10:15, LVMH lost 1.38% to 804.90 euros, Kering 0.82% to 509.90 euros, Hermès 1.22% to 1,904.80 euros.

Stocks of technology groups are also falling: often considered riskier, these assets are neglected in times of investor fears and when interest rates rise.

Teleperformance lost 1.58% to 118.45 euros, Worldline 1.27% to 32 euros, Capgemini 0.83% to 161.55 euros and Atos 1.2% to 6.62 euros.

© 2023 AFP