10 things you need to know before European markets open

Good morning! Here’s what you need to know.

Air France staff are ready to resume talks with management. The main pilot union SNPL will start discussions with the airline’s bosses after plans to cut 2,900 jobs at the struggling airline triggered a fracas on Monday with executives hounded from a meeting, their shirts torn from their backs.

Rome’s mayor resigned. Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino resigned following a scandal over his credit card expenses that has dented the image of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party. He was accused of using city money to wine and dine his family and friend.

France charges a former top UBS banker with tax evasion. Raoul Weil, the former head of the bank’s global wealth management business, was slapped with the charge over taxes by French judges at the end of September, sources told AFP.

Oil is climbing. Oil prices rose to their highest in three months, after forecaster PIRA Energy Group predicted crude prices would rise to $US70 per barrel by the end of 2016. Crude oil futures extended overnight gains, with Brent adding 0.4 per cent to $US53.28 a barrel, while U.S. crude was 0.5 per cent higher at $US49.66.

Europe’s last dictator eyes better relationships with the West. Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, in power for 21 years, is virtually certain to win a fifth term in office on Sunday. While Russia retains significant influence in Belarus, Lukashenko has shown his independence following the action in Crimea.

UK trade balance data is coming. Government statistics about the UK’s balance of trade with other countries in August is published at 9:30a.m. UK time. The UK trade deficit in July was £3.4 billion.

Lionel Messi and his dad could face prison over a tax scandal. Argentina and Barcelona football star Lionel Messi and his father Jorge are to stand trial on three counts of tax fraud that could carry prison sentences, a Spanish court confirmed on Thursday.

Greek industrial production figures are coming. The Greek national statistics services releases data on industrial production for August at 9a.m. UK time. The reading last month was a drop of 1.6%.

Stocks in Asia are up. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.7 per cent in early trading, on track for a robust weekly gain of 5.7 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei stock index added 1 per cent, poised to gain 3.4 per cent for the week.

No one is buying PCs. Research firm Gartner Inc said worldwide shipments of personal computers fell 7.7 per cent to 73.7 million units in the third quarter. The Windows 10 launch in the quarter had minimal impact on shipments as users chose to upgrade their software on existing PCs.

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