10 things you need to know before European markets open

Good morning! Here’s what you need to know.

1. Former Prime Minister David Cameron was caught on camera saying Brexit was not going as badly as he had believed it would.”As I keep saying, it’s a mistake not a disaster. It’s turned out less badly than we first thought,” Cameron was caught saying to Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

2. Saudi oil giant Aramco is looking to expand in the United States where President Donald Trump’s tax cuts and support for the oil industry are making business increasingly attractive.“We are looking at new business opportunities in the US and with the tax cuts it will make it much more profitable,” CEO Amin Nasser told Reuters.

3. Insured losses from natural disasters came to $US134 billion in 2017, making it the second-costliest year on record. Three major hurricanes in the United States and Caribbean alone led to losses of $US100 billion in 2017, according to risk modelling agencies and reinsurers.

4. US President Donald Trump said that his plan to help rebuild the nation’s infrastructure will result in about $US1.7 trillion in overall investment over the next 10 years. Trump had previously estimated that the plan, which is expected to feature a mix of federal and local investment, at $US1 trillion.

5. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said his European partners couldn’t always appreciate the challenges of living with an ‘aggressive’ neighbour such as Turkey. Tsipras was speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos in a discussion about stabilizing the Mediterranean and addressing the migration crisis.

6. JPMorgan plans to expand its African presence into countries including Ghana and Kenya, CEO Jamie Dimon said.“You’ll see us open in some countries we are not in, in Africa you’ll be hearing about some of that stuff,” Dimon told Bloomberg Television.

7. Ford reported a quarterly net profit, versus a loss in the same period in 2016 caused by pension liabilities.The second largest US automaker reported quarterly net income of $US2.41 billion or 60 cents per share, versus a loss of $US781 million or 20 cents per share a year earlier.

8. The United States is not starting a trade war but trying to fend off Chinese protectionism, including a “direct threat” in high-tech goods, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said. Ross was speaking a day after Washington imposed steep import tariffs on washing machines and solar panels.

9. Ryanair pilots’ unions demanded joint meeting with management, saying individual talks on a new collective bargaining system were not satisfactory.A letter signed by 11 trade unions also demanded that Ryanair commit by March 1 to introduce permanent direct employment contracts in accordance with the local laws of the country where staff are based.

10. Macedonia will change the name of its airport to help resolve a decades-long dispute with Greece over the ex-Yugoslav republic’s name. Macedonia took that name when it declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, but Greece has disputed it since, saying it implies territorial claims to a Greek province of the same name as well as to Greece’s history.

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