Here is what you need to know.
China posted a record trade surplus. China’s trade surplus widened to $US60.6 billion, fuelled by a 48.3% surge in imports. The number is likely to have been skewed by the Lunar New Year. China’s yuan finished little changed at 6.2646 per dollar.
The European Central Bank began its QE program. The 1.2 trillion euro program will last for the next 18 months, with the ECB buying approximately 60 billion euro per month in assets. Bond yield across the region are lower with Germany’s 10-year down 6 basis points at 33 basis points.
Greece’s list of reforms was rejected by its creditors. The 240 billion euro bailout program has almost been used up completely, and could run dry as soon as this month. Eurogroup Chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem noted, “It seems their money box is almost empty.” Greece’s 3-year yield is higher by 145 basis points at 15.21%.
Greece could face a new election of referendum. In an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis warned, “
We can go back to elections. Call a referendum. But, as my prime minister told me, we are not glued to our seats yet.”
Japan’s fourth quarter GDP was revised lower. Final GDP printed 0.4% QoQ, revised down from the previous reading of 0.6% QoQ. Japan’s yen is down 0.1% at 120.90 against the dollar.
Apple is holding an Apple Watch event today.
The event is expected to provide final details for the product’s launch including: final features, launch date, price, and apps.
The New York Times editorial board wrote an op-ed asking the Fed to delay rate hikes. The article outlined several reasons as to why the Fed should remain on hold, noting “wages have barely budged throughout the nearly six-year-old recovery,” and “the labour market is not as healthy as those figures might suggest.”
Credit rating agencies are changing the way they calculate credit scores. The three largest credit rating agencies (Equifax Information Services LLC, Experian Information Solutions Inc. and TransUnion LLC) have announced changes to to the handling of unpaid medical bills. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Under the new agreement, the credit-reporting firms will have to wait 180 days before adding any medical-debt information to consumers’ credit reports.” The changes should take place over the next 6 to 39 months.
Global stock markets are mostly lower. Australia’s ASX (-1.3%) led Asian markets lower while China’s Shanghai Composite (+1.9%) was the lone advancer. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE (-0.7%) paces the decline.
Economic data is absent from the US calendar. Data for the week begins tomorrow as JOLTs Job Openings and wholesale inventories are scheduled for 10 a.m. ET.