By Pierre Briancon
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
The rout in oil will have wider reaching consequences yet.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ decision not to cut production amid slowing demand coupled with large increases in U.S. oil output has skimmed some $40 off a barrel of oil inside of five months.
The Great Divergence is a term coined by economic historians to explain the sudden acceleration of growth and technology in Europe from the 16th century onward, while other civilizations such as China, India, Japan and Persia remained in their pre-modern state. This phrase has recently acquired a very different meaning, however, more relevant to global economic and financial conditions today.
Volatility has cooled for the moment, even as the U.S. Federal Reserve lifted its quantitative easing program on Wednesday, but Europe, China and Brazil are still concerns for financial markets, according to a veteran investment manager.
A healthy dose of fear has re-entered financial markets in the final three months of the year. The Chicago Board Options Exchange VIX, a widely tracked measure of market volatility, rose to a two-month high on Wednesday.
The clock is ticking down to the European Central Bank’s policy meeting tomorrow and markets are waiting to see what the bank’s president, Mario Draghi, will say about the state of the regional economy, especially since euro zone inflation fell in July to its lowest level since the height of the financial crisis five years ago.
Eurozone employment is stuck in a bad place. Numbers out yesterday show the unemployment rate hovering at 11.6 percent for a second consecutive month. While at least it isn’t rising, the rate needs to drop a lot further for Europe to truly get back on track from the 2008 financial crisis. Nineteen million people remain out of work across the eurozone, Reuters reports, and the unemployment rates in Spain and Greece both remain above 25 percent.