#UK 10 things you need to know before European markets open


cold soldiers

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

VW sales are plunging. The German automaker reported that November US sales fell almost 25% from a year ago. The VW brand sold 23,882 vehicles last month compared with almost 32,000 a year ago.

Poland is paying for new babies. The government approved a program under which families will get monthly bonuses of 500 zlotys ($124) for every child beyond the first. The poorest families will be receiving bonuses for all children.

Brazil’s economy is disintegrating. Gross domestic product fell by 4.5% in the third quarter compared with the same time frame last year, the country’s statistics bureau reported. The cumulative drop of 3.2% for the year so far is the worst since 1996.

Belarus is asking for a loan. Belarus said it is seeking a $3 billion loan for 10 years from the International Monetary Fund and is considering some economic reforms in return. President Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus since 1994, said at a government meeting that an IMF loan offered better value than any alternative, including a deal with close ally Russia.

US construction spending hit an eight-year high. The Commerce Department said that construction spending rose 1% in October from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of more than $1.1 trillion. That’s the highest level since December 2007.

Montenegro could become NATO’s newest member. Foreign ministers from NATO countries were expected to invite Montenegro to join the military alliance despite Russia’s objection to the move. This is the latest sign of discord between the West and Moscow even as they both battle the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

Fiat Chrysler sales are booming. The company’s sales rose 3% last month. Jeep sales jumped 20% for the month, making up for lower sales for the Dodge, Chrysler and Fiat brands. Fiat Chrysler sold 175,974 vehicles, its best November result since 2000.

S&P cut VW’s credit rating. Standard and Poor’s cut its credit rating for German automaker Volkswagen for a second time in two months, saying its emissions scandal had “tarnished VW’s reputation and brand perception.”

French voters trust Hollande more since the Paris attacks. Trust in Hollande jumped from 15% in November to 35% in December, back to a level last seen in December 2012, the TNS-Sofres One Point poll for Le Figaro daily showed.

Mark Zuckerberg will give away almost all of his Facebook shares. Along with his daughter’s birth, Mark Zuckerberg announced that he will give away 99% of his Facebook shares, valued at around $45 billion, to charity during his lifetime. 

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