- Oil prices climbed after Saudi Arabia launched air strikes on Yemen. The potential threat to oil supplies from the Gulf was enough to boost U.S. crude $1.81 to $51.02, while Brent crude climbed $1.56 to $58.04 a barrel in early trading on Thursday.
- Greece is optimistic it would reach a deal with eurozone on reforms needed to unlock cash next week, the Greek economy minister said. "I believe that at the beginning of next week we will have an agreement on the package of reforms the Greek government is proposing, and on the funding of the country," Economy Minister George Stathakis told Antenna TV. On Wednesday, the ECB raised the limit to the amount Greek banks can borrow from its emergency facility.
- Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) raised the stake it is selling in its U.S. subsidiary Citizens (CFG) to as much as $3.7 billion due to strong demand, from initial plans to sell $3.2 billion worth of shares, the FT reports. RBS plans to reduce its stake in Citizens to below 50%.
- China's state-owned bad bank, China Cinda Asset Management, sold two bad debts via Alibaba's (BABA) auction platform Taobao. The debts were from two factories: a steel mill and a plant making brooms, candles and other light manufacturing items. The winning bidders were individuals, not financial groups, and the face value of the debts was not clear from the documentation made public, according to the FT.
- The Swiss National Bank (SNB) said it spent nearly $27 billion to defend the Swiss franc's beg to the euro before dropping it in January. The SNB has argued that it had to abandon the franc's three-year-old cap against the euro, but politicians slammed the decision as the economy falters in part due to the strong franc.
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