German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Berlin.
Russia’s central bank meets having unexpectedly cut its key policy rate in January by 200 basis points to 15 percent, raising a question mark over its independence from political pressure, given inflation rose to a 13-year high of 16.7 percent in February.
An economic trend, like a battle plan, often doesn’t survive the first engagement. Data from euro zone countries has generally surprised on the upside since the turn of the year with Germany leading the way. German growth was robust in Q4, with domestic demand to the fore.
A Greek deal has been pulled from the fire at the last moment. The country’s bailout programme will be extended for four months averting a potential cash crunch in March that could have forced the country out of the currency area.
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.