GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares retreat as growth concerns rekindled
* MSCI world share index dips 0.3 pct, European shares fall
* Euro recovers as policymaker plays down concerns over current level
* German 10-year auction sees strong demand
LONDON, Jan 16 (Reuters) - World shares slipped while safe-haven German bonds and U.S. Treasuries rose on Wednesday as poor economic data from Europe rekindled concerns about the health of the global economy.
However, the euro rose after European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny said the exchange rate was not a concern, contrasting with the head of the region's top financial committee, the Eurogroup, who said it was too strong.
The economic outlook for the euro area darkened when figures revealed that new car sales in December had plunged to their the lowest level since 1995 with top producers like Volkswagen suffering heavy falls.
This came a day after Germany reported its economy shrank at the fastest pace in almost three years in the final quarter of 2012, and the World Bank revised its global growth forecast for 2013 down to 2.4 percent from 3.0 percent
"Following the German growth numbers yesterday there is simply a realisation the recession in the euro zone in the fourth quarter will be much bigger than the previous consensus," said Daiwa Securities economist Tobias Blattner.
The MSCI world equity index was down 0.3 percent at around 349 points, while Europe's FTSE Eurofirst 300 index dipped 0.4 percent to 1,158.52 points, on course for its fourth day of losses in the last five sessions.
London's FTSE 100, Paris's CAC-40 and Frankfurt's DAX were 0.1 to 0.3 percent lower.
U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street where the focus is on bank earnings as big names like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and BNY Mellon are due to report.
The euro was back above $1.33 at around $1.3310 following Nowotny's confirmation that the ECB was not targeting any exchange rate.
The common currency had fallen earlier when the outgoing head of Eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker, said the currency was "dangerously high".
In the bond markets Germany saw healthy demand for its debt at an auction of new 10-year bonds.
"Uncertainties about the economic outlook and political risks continue to loom and today's auction results are a sign that market dealers still see some value in core (European) debt," said Annalisa Pizza, market economist at Newedge.
Ten-year German bond yields in the secondary market were barely changed after the auction at 1.5 percent.
U.S. Treasury prices meanwhile extended their recent gains on concerns about a political fight in Washington to lift the federal government's debt limit.
Assets traditionally viewed as offering protection against risk have been boosted this week as political wrangling has begun again over raising the governments self-imposed debt limit, which is expected to be reached before March.
Benchmark U.S. 10-year T-notes were last up 3/32 in price to yield 1.825 percent.
Spot gold was up 0.3 percent to $1,682.69 an ounce for a third straight session of gains, supported by expectations that the world's key central banks will continue their ultra-loose monetary policies.
Worries over supply saw platinum prices inch up 0.1 percent to $1,680.50 to mark a seventh straight session of gains, its longest winning streak since early October.
Workers for top producer Anglo American Platinum downed tools on Wednesday in protest at an announcement from the firm, known as Amplats, that it would close mines and cut jobs.
Cold weather in Europe and the United States underpinned oil prices but the rising fears over the global growth outlook meant any gains were limited.
Brent futures were up 25 cents to $110.65 a barrel, while U.S. oil CLc1 rose 22 cents to $93.49