European shares fall 1% on taper fears; commodities slump hits miners

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Aug 19 (Reuters) - European shares fell more than 1% on Thursday on fears of a sooner-than-expected tapering in global monetary policy, while a slump in commodity prices led mining stocks to a near one-month low.

By 0706 GMT, the pan-European STOXX 600 was down 1.5% at a two-week low, with mining stocks slumping 4.2%.

Asian stocks also slid earlier in the day to their lowest levels this year as minutes published Wednesday of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting gave the impression of a looming cut in its massive, pandemic-era bond-buying programme.

Although the European Central Bank has so far stood pat on its own policy, rising inflation has sparked fears global central banks would start to rein in their easy money policies that have been instrumental in lifting global stock indexes to record highs.

The travel and leisure index declined 2.4% amid a surge in cases of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

Swiss building materials supplier Geberit edged lower as it warned about rising raw materials prices after reporting a big leap in quarterly sales and earnings.

With the European earnings season nearly at the halfway mark, profit for STOXX 600 companies is expected to have surged 150% in the second quarter, the best since Refinitiv IBES records began in 2012. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)