Here’s what you need to know.
Yemen’s Houthi fighters and their allies seized part of Aden, a strategic port city. Aden lies near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which is one of the world’s oil chokepoints. Most exports from the Persian Gulf that transit the Suez Canal and SUMED Pipeline pass through Bab el-Mandeb. West Texas Intermediate crude oil is down 2% at $US49.07 per barrel.
Nuclear talks with Iran are ongoing. Talks persisted throughout the night as both sides showed a willingness to get a deal done. According to the Washington Post, “The West demands that the Lausanne talks wind up with concrete commitments. But Iran has pushed back, demanding a general statement with few specifics.”
The European Central Bank has increased its emergency assistance to Greece. Greek banks are now eligible to receive a total of 71.8 billion euros ($US77.3 billion) through the ECB’s Emergency Liquidity Assistance program. The measure provides more liquidity for the country’s struggling lenders.
Greece has submitted a new list of reforms to its creditors. Greece’s government provided a lengthy list of reforms, which included new revenue streams. However, the plan also proposes an increase in spending on some government programs. An unnamed eurozone official noted, the proposals are a “very long way from being a basis [for a deal].” April 9 is setting up as a key date as the troubled country must make good on debt obligations to the International Monetary Fund. Greece’s 3-year yield is up 53 basis points at 23.38%, its highest since 2013.
Ukraine and Russia have agreed on a new gas deal. Reuters reports Ukraine will pay “
$US248 per thousand cubic meters, after paying $US329 in the first quarter of this year.” The deal will expire at the end of the second quarter. Russia’s ruble is up 0.7% at 57.18 per dollar while Ukraine’s hyrvnia is higher by 1.8% at 23.50.
Australia’s trade deficit widened. The country’s trade deficit expanded to $US1.26 billion ($US1.00 billion previous). Exports rose 1%, dragged down by weakness in iron ore shipments, while imports edged up 1.9%, mostly a result of the weak Australian dollar. Australia’s dollar is off 0.7% at .7550, its weakest in six years.
Google will face the wrath of the European Union. Antitrust charges are expected to be filed against the search giant in the next few weeks. Google faces a fine of up to 10% of its annual revenues, or more than $US6 billion if using 2014 as a guide.
The Atlanta Fed sees zero growth for the first quarter. The number was revised down from an estimated 1.9% annualized growth just two months ago. The lowered forecast comes following some disappointing data as of late, which may or may not have been impacted by the winter weather.
Global stock markets are flat to higher. Japan’s Nikkei (+1.5%) led Asian markets higher while Britain’s FTSE (+0.2%) paces a choppy session in Europe. US futures are down modestly.
US economic data is moderate. Initial jobless claims and the trade balance will cross the wires at 8:30 a.m. ET while factory orders are set for release at 10 a.m. ET. Natural gas storage is due out at 10:30 a.m. ET.