Good morning! Here are 10 of the most important stories in markets today.
Greece goes back to the Eurogroup today. After a Greek letter containing proposals for economic reform was sent to the group of European finance ministers on Friday, the Eurogroup meets again to decide whether the measures are enough to approve the country’s bailout extension.
And an Italian newspaper says Greece’s finance minister suggested a referendum on the bailout. “We can go back to elections. Call a referendum,” if the Eurogroup doesn’t approve Greece’s reforms, finance minister Yanis Varoufakis reportedly told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Sunday. Greece’s finance ministry said Varoufakis was misquoted.
Japan’s economy grew even more slowly than thought. Japan’s economy grew by 0.4% in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to new estimates. The first reading of Q4 showed a 0.6% expansion, and economists were initially expecting 0.9% growth.
The Swiss National Bank could cut interest rates even further. The Swiss National Bank, battling a rise in the country’s currency, could push interest rates further into negative territory, a Swiss newspaper reported on Sunday. Citing sources close to the SNB, Schweiz am Sonntag said “a rate of minus 1.5 per cent is being considered“.
China’s trade surplus hit a new record. China’s monthly trade surplus hit 370.5 billion yuan (around $US59 billion or £39.1 billion) in February, the government said Sunday, a new record for the world’s second-largest economy.
Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff appealed to her country to back austerity. President Dilma Rousseff appealed to Brazilians on Sunday to back fiscal austerity policies, while saying that the belt-tightening will last as long as needed and positive results will only start showing at the end of this year.
Tesla is shedding jobs in China after missing sales targets. High-end electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors on Monday said it is cutting jobs in China under a restructuring plan launched earlier this year, after missing a sales target in the world’s biggest car market.
The Netherlands wants to return ABN Amro to private ownership later in 2015. Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Sunday he did not expect nationalised bank ABN Amro to return to private hands until the second half of 2015.
Asian markets are mixed. Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.95% after disappointing GDP figures, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is up 0.09% just ahead of the close, and China’s Shanghai Composite is 1.73% higher.
Audi beat Mercedes again in February. Audi outsold German rival Mercedes-Benz for a second month in February as the Volkswagen division benefited from its revamped model lineup. Sales in February rose 4.2% to 122,550 luxury cars and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs), a record high for the month.
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