European markets give North Korea 'a shrug' as missile tests loose impact

LONDON — Markets are seemingly uninterested in continued North Korean sabre rattling, after the state engaged in another missile test that has been widely condemned by global leaders and international organisations.

North Korea’s latest missile launch, less than two weeks after its suspected hydrogen bomb test, saw a projectile fired from an airfield near the North Korean capital of Pyongyang at 6:57 a.m. local time, flying around 2,300 miles before eventually landing in the sea beyond Japan.

The reaction has been distinctly muted in the markets — Japan’s benchmark share index, the Nikkei, actually ending the day up by close to 0.5%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng barely moved, losing just 0.04%.

In Europe, where trading began roughly 40 minutes ago, the reaction is similarly subdued, with major bourses trading lower, but only very marginally.

Germany’s DAX is virtually unmoved as of 8.45 a.m. BST (3.45 a.m. ET), while the broader Euro Stoxx 50 index has lost 0.04%. Britain’s FTSE 100 is the biggest faller, down around 0.2% to trade at 7,279 points. That fall, however, is not down to the Korean launch, but rather a strengthening pound, which has hit a one-year high in the aftermath of a hawkish shift from the Bank of England on Thursday.

“These North Korea missile launches seems to be following the law of diminishing returns — at least market-wise — with the latest provocation from Pyongyang greeted with something of a shrug from investors,” Connor Campbell, market analyst with Spreadex wrote in an email on Friday morning.

Investors appear to be treating Kim Jong Un as the boy who cried wolf.

Here’s the scoreboard in Europe:

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