Good morning! Here are 10 things you should know before markets open.
A regional Fed chairman said that summer is the right time to think about raising rates. Federal Reserve policymakers should not wait too long to raise interest rates, a top US central banker said on Thursday. “I think that by mid-year it will be the time to have a serious discussion about starting to raise rates,” San Francisco Fed chief John Williams said.
German industrial production beat expectations. Production rose 0.6% in January from December, slightly faster than analysts had expected, despite a big miss on factory orders for the same month.
France’s Marine Le Pen outlined her policies for the Financial Times. Le Pen stuck to her stated aim of leaving the euro, which she says would “allow France to boost exports with a weaker Franc“.
All 31 US banks passed their stress tests. All 31 US banks passed a test of how they would do in a next economic crisis, the Federal Reserve said on Thursday, but those with large trading books came out weak because of new elements in the check-up.
A strong US jobs report today could keep a June rate hike on the table. US employment likely rose strongly in February with the jobless rate slipping, signs that could encourage the Federal Reserve to consider hiking interest rates in June. A Reuters survey of economists forecast a 240,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls after a 257,000 gain in January. That would mark the 12th straight month of job increases above 200,000.
Volkswagen is reportedly planning a $US1 billion (£656 million) investment in Mexico. German carmaker Volkswagen will next week announce an investment worth around $US1 billion in Mexico to expand its Puebla plant, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
Iran could freeze its nuclear work for 10 years. Iran’s foreign minister on Thursday suggested that a 10-year moratorium on some aspects of the country’s nuclear program might be acceptable to Tehran, though he declined to discuss the issue in detail.
Commerzbank is reportedly nearing a massive settlement with the US. Commerzbank AG is nearing an agreement to pay US authorities more than $US1.4 billion (£918 million) to settle alleged violations of U.S. sanctions and a separate probe that stemmed from transactions linked to an Olympus Corp accounting scandal, according to two people close to the case.
George Osborne wants to sell RBS as soon as possible. Britain is looking to sell the Royal Bank of Scotland as quickly as possible, Chancellor George Osborne told the Financial Times. Osborne told the newspaper he hoped to sell the bank “as quickly as we can get rid of it” after the May general election, and that the public “want to see they get their money back” but that it could take years.
Asian markets are mixed. Japan’s Nikkei closed at a new record high, up 1.17%, but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is currently down 0.16%, and the Shanghai Composite Index is 0.19% lower.