Good morning! Here are the 10 most important things in markets today.
Is the Fed losing patience? All eyes are on the Fed today. If the US central bank drops language saying it will be “patient” about raising interest rates, markets will likely take it as a signal of a looming hike, possibly in June.
A huge Chinese property developer is teetering on the edge of default. Evergrande Real Estate Group, one of the country’s largest developers, will receive more than $US16 billion in credit lines from Chinese banks, the New York Times reported Tuesday. As prices fall and housing units remain empty, real estate developers are having trouble paying back debt.
Greece is running out of cash and relations with Europe are souring. Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem repeated on Tuesday that Greece is running out of cash and must work on economic reforms if it hopes to receive further assistance, prompting Athens to respond that it would not let itself be blackmailed.
And Athens reportedly refused to update Europe’s finance ministers on its progress. Greece frustrated its main creditors on Tuesday by refusing to update euro zone peers on its reform progress at a scheduled teleconference, insisting instead that the discussions should be escalated to Thursday’s European Union summit.
Asian markets are surging. Japan’s Nikkei closed up 0.55%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is currently up 1.19% ahead of the close. The Shanghai Composite index is up 1.72%.
The US doesn’t want its allies to join China’s new infrastructure bank. The United States urged countries on Tuesday to think twice about signing up to a new China-led Asian development bank that Washington sees as a rival to the World Bank after Germany, France and Italy followed Britain in saying they would join.
Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman is selling his North Sea oil fields. After political pressure to sell, Fridman will look for buyers for a dozen gas fields in the North Sea, according to the Financial Times. Fridman had bought out a German energy firm that owned the fields and would likely have provoked legal action by the UK government otherwise.
Big Japanese firms are announcing wage hikes, but smaller firms are lagging. Japanese blue-chip firms announced wage hikes on Wednesday that topped increases last year, but overall pay raises across corporate Japan are not expected to offset higher costs of living for workers. Major exporters like Toyota were responding for a second year to public calls from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government.
Ukraine wants to be “flexible” with its bondholders. Ukraine’s finance minister on Tuesday said the country wants to be “flexible” in its discussions with sovereign bondholders over renegotiating its debt, and is not ruling out any form of an agreement, including maturity extension.
Citigroup and Barclays are heading to an $US800 million (£541.95 million) forex lawsuit settlement. Citigroup and Barclays are close to settling as early as this week a lawsuit with private investors who say the banks manipulated foreign-exchange rates, the Wall Street Journal said. The two banks are expected to pay as much as $US800 million in settlement, the daily said, citing people close to the situation.