US stock index futures sink on the back of longest US government shutdown in its history

At 3.09am Eastern Time, Dow futures were down by 192 points, projecting a negative open of 237.95 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were also lower, down by 20.50 points and 66.50 points, respectively.

United States China Government shutdowns in the United States Futures contract S&P 500 Index Dow Jones Industrial Average

Pre-market trading showed United States (US) stock index futures sinking lower on Monday, as trouble continues to brew in the US with the longest government shutdown in the country’s history. December exports and imports for China also dropped unexpectedly, official data revealed, prompting concerns over an economic slowdown there.

At 3.09am Eastern Time, Dow futures were down by 192 points, projecting a negative open of 237.95 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were also lower, down by 20.50 points and 66.50 points, respectively.

The debate between the Democrats and Republican parties over the border wall continues, providing no near end in sight towards a re-opening of the US government. Facing a gridlock, Washington is caught over US President Donald Trump’s demand for a wall to be built along the US’ Southwestern border.

The shutdown is the longest in the nation’s 242-year history, and around 800,000 federal workers are currently going without pay. The cascading effect of the shutdown has also affected local eateries and shops near the major federal offices, said local reports.

The congress has approved a proposal to give back pay for federal workers affected by the shutdown, but their pay checks will only come in after Washington reaches a deal.

China data released on Monday softened investor optimism

The weak December exports and imports performance in China also contributed to some weakness to the markets. Exports fell by 4.4% from a year ago, while imports sank 7.6%, the worst results since 2016.

China’s export and import numbers had worsened from November, due partly to the effects from the trade war, and China’s growth slowdown.

Separately, a rosier picture was shown for China’s exports for the full 12 months of last year as it logged the highest growth since 2011, the country’s General Administration of Customs revealed on Monday.

China’s economy is still growing steadily in 2019, but it faces external headwinds, said spokesman for the customs administration Li Kuiwen.

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