Growth worries weigh on shares, Mid East tension lifts oil

A warning about the global growth from the IMF sent European shares lower for a second day on Tuesday despite a move by China to support its flagging economy, while escalating tensions between Turkey and Syria in the Middle East sent oil higher.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> of top European shares fell 0.2 percent at 1,098.80 points, adding to a loss of 1 percent on Monday, with share markets in Germany , and the UK between 0.2 and 0,5 percent lower

The falls came after the International Monetary Fund cut its 2012 global growth forecast to 3.3 percent from 3.5 percent, just a day after the World Bank reduced its outlook for East Asia. The IMF also warned that a failure by U.S. and European policymakers to fix their problems could prolong the slump.

The worries offset the positive mood in Asian markets which followed China's injection of around $42 billion of cash into money markets, boosting speculation it may soon do more to support slowing growth.

"Given the softness in the economy and given where inflation is, there is certainly scope for China to be more active on the policy front," said Ian Richards, global head of equities strategy at Exane BNP Paribas.

Meanwhile a warning from Turkish President Abdullah Gul that the worst case scenarios between his country and Syria are now playing out sent Brent crude oil towards $113 a barrel.

"Right now the market is concerned about the continuing conflict between Syria and Turkey, and the worry is that if it escalates, it may disrupt supplies," said Ker Chung Yang, senior investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

The most active Brent futures contract was up 0.5 percent to $112.48 per barrel while its premium over U.S. oil jumped to $22.5 per barrel, the highest since October 20 last year.

Elsewhere uncertainty over Spain was keeping the euro on the back foot and supporting German government bond prices.

Euro zone ministers said on Monday Spain did not need a bailout yet, dashing investors' hopes they might inch closer to a resolution of the country's debt problems.

The euro bought $1.2975, little changed from late U.S. levels but almost a full cent below a two-week high of $1.3072 hit on Friday.

German bond futures were 16 ticks higher at 141.55 in early trade while yields on Spanish 10-year bonds were slightly higher at 5.75 percent.

(Reporting by Richard Hubbard; Editing by Peter Graff)