10 things you need to know before European markets open

People hold a banner and a flag of Ukraine's ReutersPeople hold a banner and a flag of Ukraine’s ‘Azov’ battalion during commemoration rally in Kharkiv February 22, 2015.

Greece’s government unveiled reform plans early to combat press leaks.Greek lawmakers released a summary of its reforms it plans to make, in order to secure a bailout out extension, before submitting it to international creditors. It includes the radical Syriza party’s plans to combat corruption and to create a “fairer tax system.”

France is trying to delay its deficit target. According to German business daily Handelsblatt, the country wants to delay its target of bringing
its budget deficit below 3% of GDP to 2018.

Meanwhile, the European Union’s top economics official raised the threat of sanctions on France. “I hope we are going to reach a good deal, a good deal is always better than bad sanctions,” EU Economics and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told France 2 television. “But sanctions may be necessary if there is no deal.”

Janet Yellen expected to reveal when the Fed will hike interest rates. The Fed Chair will be grilled by US lawmakers during her semi-annual testimony on US economy and monetary policy at 3 p.m. GMT (10 a.m. ET).

Asia markets, excluding Hong Kong, hit new highs ahead of Yellen’s two-day testimony. However, markets are still closed in mainland China for the Chinese New Year national holiday.

Germany’s economy expected to grow.
The country will unveil 0.7% GDP growth in the fourth quarter at 7 a.m. GMT. However, if the reading is unexpectedly softer, it could hurt the Euro.

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating 10 banks for precious metal fixing. U.S. officials are probing Wall Street giants, even though Europe has dropped their own investigations, according to Marketwatch.

Ukraine’s week-long ‘ceasefire’ is dead and buried. Kiev claimed that

pro-Russian rebels used rockets and artillery against villages in southeastern Ukraine, killing two of its soldiers and wounding 10 overnight on Monday.

Markets eye a surprise cut in oil production from OPEC. The oil minister for Nigeria said OPEC had discussed the prospect at a meeting, according to the Financial Times.

BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill debacle still rumbles on. The energy giant is appealing the federal judge’s determination of the size of the spill, which would make a difference to the amount it pays out in fines.

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