Good morning. Here's what you need to know.
- Asian markets sold off in overnight trading, with the with Hang Seng index down 1.46 percent, and the Shanghai Composite down nearly 1 percent on concerns of liquidity. Europe is selling off, and U.S. futures are modestly lower.
- Retail sales beat expectations in February rising 1.1 percent, above expectations of a 0.5 percent rise >
- The Chinese central bank held a press conference in which Governor Zhou Xiaochuan struck a more hawkish tone than before. He said inflation should be watched closely and that monetary policy should be determined by inflation rather than asset classes like real estate. Bank of America's Ting Lu writes that this "might be a consequence of being criticized by the public for carrying out overly loose monetary policy since late 2008." The seven megatrends that will dominate China's next decade >
- After failing to elect a new Pope Tuesday, 115 Cardinals are reconvening for the Papal election today. Reuters reports that in recent times there has never been a decision on the first day and the first vote just helps shortlist the top candidates. For now, Italy's Angelo Scola and Brazil's Odilo Scherer remain the favorites.
- After Paul Ryan revealed his plan for a balanced budget yesterday, Democrats are expected to introduce their budget during a press conference at 10:30 a.m. ET. Erik Wasson at The Hill wrote "the first budget from Senate Democrats in four years includes nearly $1 trillion in new taxes but would not balance the budget". Howard Marks' presentation on investing in uncertain times >
- Italian borrowing costs increased at a Treasury auction of €3.3 billion of the three-year bond. Meanwhile, Ireland received €12 billion in bids for 10-year bonds. This is its first debt sale after its bailout in 2010, according to Bloomberg.
- Business inventories for January are out at 10 a.m. ET. Consensus is for a 0.1 percent MoM rise in inventories. Follow the release at Business Insider >
- The IEA expects oil demand to be weak in 2013 on the back of a slow global economic recovery. It lowered its 2013 oil demand forecast to 820,000 barrels per day (bpd), from 840,000 bpd.
- Euro area industrial production fell 0.4 percent month-over-month in January, missing expectations for a 0.1 percent decline.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) might purchase 400,000 tons of sugar to avoid default by sugar processors, according to the WSJ. This is meant to support sugar prices that have tumbled ever since the USDA offered loans to sugar processors in October.
- Bonus - New Girl star Hannah Simone told Glow magazine that she hates being told she is "curvy or voluptuous" because they are polite ways of saying fat.
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