After weeks of speculation, PSA Group, which produces Peugeot and Citroën cars, struck a deal to buy General Motors’ European operations for €1.3bn ($1.4bn). The addition of the Opel and Vauxhall brands to its range makes PSA the second-largest motor company in Europe, behind Volkswagen. GM has not turned a profit in Europe since 1999, losing some $8bn since 2010. It was so keen to ditch the business that it agreed to retain liability for most workers’ pensions. PSA has said it won’t immediately close factories, but it will eventually have to if it is to realise its projected cost savings.

Fed-speak

Janet Yellen, the chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, said a “further adjustment” to interest rates would probably “be appropriate” this month, meaning a rise is on the cards for March. It was an unusually frank statement by a Fed official ahead of a policy meeting.

Deutsche Bank announced plans to raise €8bn ($8.5bn) through a rights issue to bolster its balance-sheet. The German bank also scrapped the proposed sale of its Postbank business; said it would sell a stake in its asset-management division; and announced that it would reunite the corporate and markets units of its investment bank. Deutsche made a €1.4bn loss last year. See article

Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life agreed to merge. Based in Britain, the combined company will have £660bn ($800bn) in assets under management, making it Europe’s second-biggest asset manager.

China racked up a trade deficit in February, its first in three years, as imports soared by 38% compared with the same month in 2016. Exports unexpectedly fell. The lunar new year, which fell in February, would have affected trade. Higher prices for imported iron ore, oil and other commodities also played a part.

Peter Navarro, the controversial head of Donald Trump’s new National Trade Council, said that the administration wanted bilateral talks with Germany over its trade surplus with America. Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, will meet Mr Trump in Washington on March 14th.

AkzoNobel, a Dutch multinational making paint and coatings that owns the Dulux brand, rejected a takeover from PPG, an American rival, saying that its €21bn ($22bn) offer undervalued the company. Foreign bids for Dutch firms are an issue in the country’s election campaign.

Heebie-jeebies on H-1Bs

A way of fast-tracking H-1B visas in America is to be suspended for at least six months from April 3rd. Skilled foreign workers can pay $1,225 to get a response to an application within 15 days, but America’s immigration agency wants to halt this service temporarily so that it can quicken the processing time for H-1Bs overall.

A final reading of the Greek economy for the last three months of 2016 reckoned that GDP shrank by 1.2%, much worse than the 0.4% contraction that had been estimated in an initial government report. It was the worst quarterly performance since mid-2015, and creates another wrinkle in the wrangling over Greece’s bail-out.

Communication breakdown

Responding to more bad publicity about its business ethics, Uber’s chief executive, Travis Kalanick, said he was looking for a chief operating officer to help him run the firm. Uber also lost its legal case against new rules in London requiring minicab drivers to speak and write basic English. Those without a school certificate in English will have to sit a test. Uber says 33,000 of its drivers would either fail the test or put off applying for a licence, but a court found that being able to communicate in English is essential for passenger safety.

In a rare rebuke to the EU’s antitrust body, a court quashed the European Commission’s decision in 2013 to block a merger between UPS and TNT, two logistics firms, finding that it had based its conclusion on an econometric model which it did not give UPS a chance to argue against. TNT was eventually bought by FedEx.

America’s Justice Department announced that ZTE, a big Chinese supplier of network equipment, had pleaded guilty to violating American sanctions against Iran and North Korea and also to obstructing a federal investigation. It will pay a penalty of $892m and a further $300m if it does not obey the terms of the settlement. It is the biggest fine to date levied on a Chinese company for sanctions busting.

Snap’s share price whipsawed. Having surged by 44% on its stockmarket debut, the share price fell back sharply in subsequent trading. The initial enthusiasm was dampened by short-sellers and concerns that the potential for growth is as ephemeral as the social-media firm’s messages. See article