By George Hay
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
A possible bank run is Greece’s Achilles’ heel.
The country probably won’t be forced out of the euro. But there is a scenario where this could happen. This involves Syriza, the radical-left party, winning the upcoming election and then running out of time before it can perform the policy U-turn necessary to keep its creditors on side. Depositors might then panic.
Euro zone service sector PMI readings for December are unlikely to alter European Central Bank thinking about taking the ultimate policy leap and commencing a quantitative easing government bond-buying programme, possibly at its Jan. 22 meeting.
German inflation figures for December will presage the euro zone number on Wednesday, together offering one of the final pieces of the jigsaw for the European Central Bank before its late January policy meeting at which it could commence a quantitative easing government bond-buying programme.
The last day of the year and all is quiet – but not for long.
Unless the price of oil bounces markedly or Vladimir Putin walks away from Ukraine thereby loosening western sanctions – both unlikely – Russia could be heading for a serious economic fall. Reserves are being burned defending the currency. They are sufficient for now but without hefty tax increases, public spending cuts and/or a higher pension age the outlook for 2016 and beyond is much gloomier.
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras faces a final parliamentary vote on his presidential candidate. Lose and he will have to call snap elections early next year which polls suggest anti-bailout Syriza would win. A result is expected around 1100 GMT.