European stocks opened lower on Wednesday, with mining and energy companies leading losses as investors fret about the demand outlook after lackluster Chinese trade data.

The European oil and gas index was down 2.2% by 0720 GMT, while miners lost 2.3%.

Both sector indices led declines in the benchmark STOXX 600 index, which fell 0.9% after posting marginal gains in the previous session.

Data from China showed that exports and imports had slowed in August, with growth largely missing forecasts, as high inflation hampered foreign demand and new headwinds brought about by COVID-19 and heat waves disrupted production.

European markets have been hit hard by concerns about an energy crisis in a context of rising prices and the disruption of Russia’s largest gas pipeline to the region.

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