10 things you need to know before European markets open

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

1. The UK-based Rokos Capital Management, which makes macroeconomic bets, is looking to grow its number of portfolio managers to 10 from five in a gradual expansion. The expansion would allow the fund to eventually manage as much as $US15 billion, more than double the roughly $US6.7 billion that the firm now manages, the people said.

2. Brazil said that China had suspended imports of meat from the South American country over police claims that Brazilian exporters had sold tainted products. Brazilian police said they had found major meat producers bribed health inspectors to certify tainted food as fit for consumption.

3. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates once again topped the Forbes magazine list of the world’s richest billionaires, while US President Donald Trump slipped more than 200 spots. Gates, whose wealth is estimated at $US86 billion, led the list for the fourth straight year.

4. Britain will begin Brexit by triggering Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty on March 29, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Monday. Britain’s envoy to Brussels Tim Barrow has informed the EU “that Britain will trigger Article 50 on March 29,” the spokesman said.

5. Bank of America hired Eric Bischof from Morgan Stanley to co-head its global Financial Institutions Group. Bischof will be based in New York and will partner with fellow BoA co-head Jim O’Neil.

6. There are going to be more US interest rate rises. Three is entirely possible,” Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said on Fox Business Network TV. “As I gain more confidence in the outlook I could support three total this year. It could be three, it could be two, it could be four if things really pick up.”

7. The government ruled out holding an early general election, despite rumoured pressure from senior figures in the Conservative Party on Prime Minister Theresa May to hold one in just six weeks time. “There is no change in our position on an early general election. There isn’t going to be one,” a government spokesperson said.

8. Euro zone finance ministers will discuss whether Jeroen Dijsselbloem can complete his term as their chairman after his party lost heavily at the Dutch elections. Dijsselbloem is highly regarded by the other 18 euro zone finance ministers and by the European Union institutions.

9. The travel ban is hitting the US economy. Travel and tourism’s contribution to the US economy will grow at a slower pace this year than in 2016 due to a strong dollar and a perception that the country is less welcoming to foreigners, the World Travel and Tourism Council said.

10. Britain’s banks processed nearly $US740 million from a vast money-laundering operation run by Russian criminals with links to the Russian government and the KGB, the Guardian revealed. HSBC, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, Barclays and Coutts are among 17 banks based in the UK that are facing questions over what they knew about the international scheme.

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