Good morning! Here are the 10 biggest things you need to know in markets today.
The US has launched an attack on the UK for its relationship with China. According to the Financial Times, the United States launched a rare attack on the UK’s foreign policy stance, with a senior US official accusing the UK of “constant accommodation” with China. The UK recent joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a venture launched by China.
Commerzbank got a $US1.45 billion (£976 million) fine. German financial services firm Commerzbank will pay $US1.45 billion in fines after it was caught processing thousands of transactions funnelling billions of dollars from sanctioned entities. “Bank employees helped facilitate transactions for sanctioned clients such as Iran and Sudan, and a company engaged in accounting fraud,” said Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of New York’s Department of Financial Services.
Japan’s Nikkei just topped 19,000 for the first time in 15 years.
The Nikkei went breached 19,000 for the first time since 2000 on Thursday, closing up 1.34%.
The European Union just blocked a Russian nuclear power deal with Hungary. The European Union has backed Euratom’s decision to block Hungary’s 12 billion euro nuclear deal with Russia, a move that could worsen the situation between the Kremlin and Brussels, the Financial Times reported.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi published his education reforms. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi unveiled long-delayed education reforms on Thursday that he said would raise the quality of sub-standard schools which are often blamed for Italy’s weak economic performance. The wide-ranging bill aims to increase the powers of head-teachers in staff promotion and management, reduce class sizes and, from 2016, offer pay increases based on merit rather than just seniority.
Greece’s “Troika” of international investors is back in Athens. Greece’s creditors returned to Athens Thursday for the first time since the left-wing Syriza party came to power, with the radical new government denying it had allowed back the hated “troika” it had vowed to shun.
Chinese banks reported a lending surge in February. Chinese banks extended 1.02 trillion yuan (£109.7 billion) of new loans in February, well above market expectations, taking some heat off the central bank as it seeks to boost flagging economic growth.Economists polled by Reuters had expected new local-currency loans to fall to 750 billion yuan in February from 1.47 trillion yuan in January, which marked a lending surge not seen since mid-2009.
Italian inflation is coming. On a very quiet day for economic data, Italian inflation figures for February will be released at 9 a.m. GMT (5 a.m. ET). Investors are expecting to see 0.2% deflation, after consumer prices fell -0.6% in January.
GM is recalling 64,000 cars. General Motors is recalling about 64,000 Chevrolet Volt hybrid electric cars for a software update to prevent carbon monoxide buildup when a driver forgets to shut off the vehicle, Automotive News reported on Thursday, citing a statement from the company.
Iceland has officially ended its EU membership bid. Iceland will not start negotiations with the European Union about joining the bloc, its foreign ministry said, confirming the ruling party’s 2013 election promise and formalising a freeze on accession talks since it came to power.
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