Here are the 10 things you need to know before opening bell this morning:
- The Canadian dollar is now trading at parity with the U.S. dollar. The move came this morning, and is the first time the two currencies have reached this level since July 2008.
- Greek bond spreads are at their widest since February 8, reaching a 370-basis point spread against German bunds this morning, due to doubts in the legitimacy of the Greek bailout package. The euro is slightly down in overnight trading.
- Chinese demand for coal is causing a traffic jam off the coast of Australia, as the coal used in steel production has seen a demand spike. There are now 223 ships waiting, higher than the 210 record set in December.
- 25 miners died in a West Virginian mine collapse yesterday. This is the worst mining disaster in the United States since 1984.
- The real estate bubble in China is in doubt after it came to light that industrial land is also seeing a significant upswing in prices. Usually, industrial land is not included in such a residential and commercial bubble, so the fact that its prices are growing by 38% suggests fundamentals may still be at work.
- The UK has dissolved its Parliament and called an election for May 6. Guardian ICM polling data shows a 4 point gap between Labour and the Conservatives, with the Conservatives in the lead. The pound is likely to be impacted by election uncertainty. It is down .67% against the dollar this morning.
- The dollar has continued its rise in overnight trading 0.4% against a basket of currencies and oil is near its 18 month high now trading at $86.73 a barrel.
- Moody’s has downgraded Iceland’s credit rating outlook to negative on the back of its inability to reach terms with the UK and Netherlands governments over its $5.3 billion bank bailout repayment.
- The U.S. government’s bailout investments have gained the Treasury over $10 billion, partially due to a 20% return on the government’s Goldman Sachs investment.
- The IMF is building a proposal for a international “excess profits tax” on banks, which would target their cash flows, for the purpose of sovereign governments gaining money from the banking system without altering the economy.
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