Good morning! Here’s what you need to know.
Saudi Arabia’s budget deficit increased as oil prices fell. Saudi Arabia said that this year’s budget deficit amounted to $98 billion (367 billion riyals) as lower oil prices cut into the government’s main source of revenue, prompting the kingdom to scale back spending for the coming year.
Spain is battling wildfires. The Spanish government sent firefighting aircraft on Monday to help douse dozens of wildfires in northern Spain that erupted over the past week after an unusual dry spell.
China is cracking down on online financing. China published new draft rules for online financing firms in a bid to better protect investors after an inquiry into suspected illegal activities by the country’s biggest peer-to-peer firm.
Belgian train strikes will hit the Eurostar next month. A strike of Belgian rail workers on January 6 and 7 will disrupt international high-speed trains between Belgium, Britain, France, Germany and the Netherlands, rail operators said.
Iran reacted to US visa restrictions. Iran will take reciprocal measures in response to any breach of this year’s nuclear deal, the Foreign Ministry warned, after Tehran said new US visa restrictions contravened the historic agreement.
Spain is yet to form a government. Spain’s Socialist party ruled out forming a new government with any party that supported a referendum on independence in Catalonia, a stand that prolongs political uncertainty after this month’s inconclusive national election.
Amazon had a good Christmas. The company’s Amazon Prime service, a loyalty program that includes unlimited free two-day shipping, gained three million new members in the third week of December alone.
Deutsche Bank sold an investment in a Chinese bank. Deutsche Bank agreed to sell its stake in China’s Hua Xia Bank to a Chinese insurer in a deal worth between 23 billion and 25.7 billion yuan ($3.6 billion-$4 billion).
European stocks fell on Monday. The UK’s FTSE might have been closed but elsewhere the markets were open. In Paris, the CAC 40 extended opening losses to close 1.0 per cent lower, while Frankfurt’s DAX was off 0.7 per cent at the close.
The warm weather isn’t good for Swiss ski slopes. Switzerland will mark its warmest December since it began keeping records 150 years ago. The temperatures hurt resort owners and ski lift operators, who are already contending with Switzerland’s strong currency discouraging foreign visitors.