Good morning! Here’s what you need to know.
The Bank of Japan surprised the market with negative rates. Voting 5-4 in favour of the measure, the bank announced that it will charge an interest rate of -0.1% for excess reserves parked at the bank by financial institutions.
France hailed a new relationship with Iran. Deals agreed between the countries included a $25 billion (€22 billion) accord under which Iran will purchase 73 long-haul and 45 medium-haul Airbus passenger planes to update its ageing fleet.
Amazon missed earnings targets. Shares in the company fell by as much as 12% in after hours trading after it released disappointing 4th quarter earnings.
Russia tried to stoke up the oil price. Russia said that OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia had proposed global oil production cuts of up to 5% in what would be the first universal deal in over a decade to help clear a glut of crude and prop up sinking prices.
China has charged a Canadian with spying. A Canadian citizen detained by China since 2014 has been indicted on charges of spying and stealing state secrets. Kevin Garratt was detained near China’s border with North Korea where he operated a coffee house.
The EU is getting tough on tax. The European Commission weighed into the row about multinational corporations avoiding tax, proposing to clamp down on companies shifting their profits to low-tax countries.
The US house market stagnated in December. Contracts to buy previously owned US homesrose just 01.% in December, an indication that the housing market remains mixed going into the first quarter of 2016.
Iran wants to keep oil prices low. Iran, boosting oil exports after the lifting of sanctions, is talking of a need to recoup its market share, making the OPEC member a challenge to any deal among producers to fix a supply glut, OPEC sources told Reuters.
Alibaba is rocketing. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s third-quarter revenue rose 32%, helped by the holiday shopping quarter, and beat analysts’ average estimate. Revenue rose to 34.53 billion yuan ($5.25 billion) in the quarter ended December 31.
The Zika virus is on the march. The Zika virus, blamed for a surge in birth defects, is “spreading explosively”, World Health Organisation chief Margaret Chan said, calling for an emergency meeting on the outbreak on February 1.