10 things you need to know before European markets open

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

1. British trade minister Liam Fox said Britain would not be blackmailed into agreeing on the cost of leaving the European Union. The third round of Brexit negotiations, focused on settling the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU.

2. French President Emmanuel Macron’s newly unveiled labour reform will boost Paris as a destination for banking jobs post-Brexit by making its labour market more flexible than Germany’s, the head of lobbying group Paris Europlace said. Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has opened up fierce competition among financial centres elsewhere in the bloc, including Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin.

3. Tropical Storm Harvey’s effect on the energy industry spread worldwide as flooded U.S. refiners and closed fuel pipelines threatened to squeeze national supply, roiling global fuel markets and rerouting millions of barrels of fuel to the Americas to avert shortages. The storm, which lashed Louisiana with rain on Thursday, has pummelled the US Gulf Coast, immersing Houston, Texas, and surrounding areas in floodwater and forcing the closure of about a quarter of US refining capacity.

4. Venezuela’s new chief prosecutor is investigating “spectacular” overpricing in a dozen contracts in the nation’s Orinoco oil belt, accusing his fugitive predecessor of turning a blind eye to embezzlement. Prosecutor Tarek Saab said preliminary investigations showed $US200 million was embezzled in a case involving 10 companies that were awarded contracts without tenders by former top executives of state oil company PDVSA.

5. Casinos in the world’s biggest gambling hub of Macau booked a 20% rise in revenue in August, the 13th consecutive month of gain, and a month in which two deadly typhoons left as much as half the city without power and water for as many as four days. All casinos in the Chinese territory reported power cuts and water shortages ranging from hours to days after the typhoons first hit on Aug. 23, causing extensive damage and killing 10 people.

6. A planned fund to improve urban transport infrastructure in Germany may be boosted to a billion euros when Chancellor Angela Merkel meets on Monday with representatives of towns particularly affected by diesel emissions. Germany’s car industry, which employs some 800,000 people and is the country’s biggest exporter, is under intense pressure to cut diesel fumes almost two years after Volkswagen admitted to deliberately cheating US pollution tests.

7. Britain’s exit from the European Union will not have an impact its defence ties with France despite concerns they could be harmed by tough divorce talks, Defence Minister Michael Fallon said. In an interview with Reuters, Fallon sought to stress the close relationship between Europe’s two largest military powers.

8. Campbell Soup posted quarterly earnings below Wall Street estimates and warned fiscal 2018 sales could decline as the company was unable to reach an agreement with a key customer for a promotional program ahead of the holiday season. Shares of the maker of packaged goods brands, including Pepperidge Farm snacks and Prego pasta sauce, fell 5.9% to $US47.28 on Thursday.

9. Japan’s Nikkei share average edged up on Friday, echoing Wall Street gains, but trading was subdued as investors awaited US job data for possible clues on the Federal Reserve’s next move on interest rates. The Nikkei gained 0.2% to 19,685.97 points by midmorning trade. For the week, the Nikkei looked set to rise 1.2%, which would snap a six-week losing streak.

10. Gold prices held steady on Friday near 10 month highs touched earlier this week as simmering tensions over the Korean peninsula fuelled safe haven demand. US gold futures for December delivery were up 0.4 per cent at $US1,326.80.

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