Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Friday.
1. The world’s major oil producers have extended production cuts through to the end of 2018, in a bid to tackle a global glut of crude and keep prices buoyant, the Guardian reports.Members of Opec, the oil cartel, and other major producers including Russia agreed that the curbs, which started in January and have lifted a barrel of Brent crude from $US40 to $US50 last year to more than $US60 now, will continue for a further nine-months.
2. Oil futures rose on Friday after OPEC on the widely-expected move. U.S. crude futures were up 18 cents, or 0.3 per cent, at $US57.58 by 0324 GMT. Brent February crude futures rose 27 cents to $US62.90.
3. A leading accounting firm gave HBOS a clean bill of health just seven months before it collapsed because it was reassured by the number of stock market pundits with “buy” ratings on the bank, the Times reports. The extraordinary revelation was made by the Financial Reporting Council, which regulates auditors, in a report defending its controversial decision to clear KPMG of wrongdoing in its 2008 audit of the bank.
4. The head of UberEats in Europe has become the latest senior executive to leave the company, as the ride-hailing arm of the business faces further pressure over its working practices in the UK, the Guardian reports. Jambu Palaniappan quit to join a European venture capital company in London, said Uber, which recently lost its licence to operate in the capital.
5. Britain cannot afford to borrow more without jeopardising the country’s financial stability, a senior Bank of England official has warned, according to the Telegraph. Richard Sharp said the Government had already borrowed an extra £1 trillion since the 2008 financial crisis.
6. The British Business Bank has stepped in to support a new technology fund after the EU’s investment agency denied it cash in the wake of last year’s Brexit vote. Episode 1 Ventures, an early-stage tech investor set up by Simon Murdoch, the entrepreneur who launched Amazon in the UK, has raised £60m to launch its new fund.
7. Jeremy Corbyn has issued a furious retort to Morgan Stanley after the major investment bank warned a Labour election victory could pose a bigger threat to British business than Brexit, Sky reports. In a new video, the Labour leader branded bankers like Morgan Stanley “the same speculators and gamblers who crashed our economy in 2008” as his party pledged to regulate finance “to serve the public.”
8. Japan’s Nikkei share average rose for a third straight day on Friday, led by oil, steel and machinery stocks, while Sharp Corp soared after it announced a return to the bourse’s main board. The Nikkei ended 0.4% higher at 22,819.03 points, rising for three straight days. For the week, the index gained 1.2%.
9. The boss of Fortnum & Mason says the world famous London store is struggling to recruit staff after the Brexit vote with the situation most acute in its restaurants, the Guardian reports. Fortnum’s chief executive, Ewan Venters, said one in five of the chef posts across its six restaurants were unfilled as the fall in sterling’s value and concerns about anti-migrant attitudes deterred applicants.
10. And finally… The European commission has said drinkers in the country have probably been paying over the odds for their favourite beers for years. AB InBev, the world’s biggest brewing company, has been accused by Brussels of charging less for its popular Jupiler and Leffe beers in France and the Netherlands than in Belgium, and using its dominant position in the Belgian market to get away with it.
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