Good morning! Here are 10 things you should know in markets today.
Russia will participate in Ukraine’s gas talks. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday that he would take part in talks over gas supplies to Ukraine in Brussels on March 2. “We have been invited to three-way talks and have confirmed our participation. First of all we’re going to talk about the situation with current supplies to Ukraine and gas transit to European consumers,” Novak told reporters.
Nissan says it can take a tenth of the US market without new factories. Nissan will be able to meet its goal of taking 10% of the US market in two years without any major new investments and by making use of capacity available at factories in Japan and South Korea, a top executive said on Friday.
The US is in deflation territory. The consumer price index showed that prices fell 0.1% in January compared to last year, in negative territory or the first time since October 2009. On a “core” basis, which strips out the more volatile costs of food and gas, prices actually rose 1.6% over last year, the same annual change seen in December.
The US and Cuba are having another round of talks. Cuban and US officials meet in Washington on Friday for a second round of talks aimed at restoring diplomatic relations, amid friction over Cuba’s place on a US list of state sponsors of terrorism.
German and Italian inflation figures are coming. They’re the first estimates of February’s inflation in the big eurozone economies, and they’re coming at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. GMT (5 a.m. and 8 a.m. ET) respectively. Economists are expecting less deflation this month in both countries, as the effect of plunging oil prices recedes.
Left-wing Greeks are already protesting against the new government. Dozens of black-clad protesters clashed with riot police in central Athens on Thursday, smashing shop windows and throwing petrol bombs after an anti-government march, the first since the leftist Syriza party took power a month ago. Around 450 far-left protesters took to the streets of Athens against the newly elected left-right coalition government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, which agreed a deal with EU partners last week to extend an aid program to Athens.
Asian markets are up. The Nikkei closed 0.06% higher in Japan, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is currently up 0.24% and the Shanghai Composite is up 0.18% just ahead of the close.
Russia is continuing the “creeping annexation” of Georgia. Russia is moving ahead with the “creeping annexation” of two breakaway Georgian regions as part of an aggressive strategy to broaden its influence in the region, Georgia’s foreign minister said on Thursday. In talks with EU and NATO officials in Brussels this week, Tamar Beruchashvili said she had underlined Georgia’s concern about agreements Moscow has signed deepening integration with the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The Bank of England is curtailing the informal meetings it previously had with big market players. Dubbed “fireside chats”, the informal conversations with major financiers are being replaced by a more transparent and communication policy, according to the Bank of England and reported in the FT. The Bank came under scrutiny over its relationship with banks hit by the forex-rigging scandal.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba may float its financial services arm. Ant Financial Services Group, Alibaba’s affiliate which runs online payment platform Alipay, is seeking to raise up to $US4 billion (£2.59 billion) in a private placement of shares and is looking at a domestic IPO in 2017, the state-run Shanghai Securities News reported.