Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Thursday.
The biggest merger in the history of the pharmaceuticals industry has officially been scrapped. The merger between Pfizer and Allergan — a deal that would have been worth $160 billion — the largest pharmaceutical merger in history has officially been called off. The cancellation of the deal has reportedly cost banks $200 million fees.
The Japanese yen is continuing to soar in Asia, rising to its strongest level against the US dollar since October 2014. The USD/JPY is trading at 109.1, its lowest level since October 31, 2014 — the day the Bank of Japan (BOJ) stunned financial markets by increasing the size of its quantitative and qualitative easing (QQE) program.
The price of oil is back above $40 again this morning. Oil continued the gains seen yesterday, when prices jumped after government data showed that US inventories fell last week by the second biggest amount of the year. At 6:50 a.m. GMT (2:50 a.m. ET) WTI is up 1% to $38.13, while Brent is above $40 at $40.15 per barrel.
JP Morgan’s CEO has warned about the state of the bond market. In the bank’s annual letter to shareholders, Jamie Dimon weighed in on bond market liquidity, the ease with which traders can buy and sell securities. He acknowledged that the markets have been facing lower levels of liquidity recently, and indicated that this environment is not going away anytime soon.
Chinese exporters think that things have reached their worst. Instability in the yuan, rising costs and financial difficulties continue to plague Chinese exporters, although as a collective group, they expect conditions to improve this year, according to a Chinese government survey.
Iceland has a new prime minister. Iceland’s right-wing coalition government on Wednesday named Agriculture Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johanssonn as new prime minister, a day after his predecessor was forced to step down over his implication in the Panama Papers scandal.
China was the country most affected by the Panama Papers leak. Nearly a third of the business of Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the centre of the Panama Papers scandal, came from its offices in Hong Kong and China, AFP reports, making the Asian giant its biggest market.
Malaysia’s parliament wants to investigate the former CEO of state-fund 1MDB. Reuters reports that a Malaysian parliamentary inquiry into 1Malaysia Development Bhd. (1MDB) said the board of the troubled state fund had failed to carry out its responsibilities and its former chief must be further investigated.
Venezuela’s energy crisis is so bad that Fridays are now holidays. Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has decreed that all Fridays for the next two months will be holidays, in a bid to save energy in the blackout-hit OPEC country. “We’ll have long weekends,” Maduro said in an hours-long appearance on state television on Wednesday night.
App only bank Atom just launched. Atom Bank has officially launched its iPhone and iPad app — the only way you’ll be able to interact with the new bank. You can check out what the app looks like here.