EU leaders gather for a two-day summit with Greece and Ukraine eclipsing the official economic and energy policy agenda.
The International Monetary Fund surprised on the upside with its programme for Ukraine last night, agreeing $17.5 billion in loans as expected but agreeing to pump $10 billion of that into the near bankrupt country over the next year and handing over $5 billion imminently.
The head of euro zone finance ministers urged Greece on Monday to "stop wasting time" and buckle down to serious talks on implementing a reform programme to secure urgently needed funds from its international creditors.
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.
Despite the Federal Reserve's trillions of dollars in newly printed money, workers' wages and overall U.S. inflation have failed to take off since the recession. Longer-term borrowing costs, from 10-year Treasury yields to 30-year home mortgages, have also compressed without any real signs of reversing. While this has perplexed many economists, transcripts of the U.S. central bank's crisis-fighting meetings in 2009 show that Janet Yellen, then the head of the San Francisco Fed, was prescient in warning colleagues of these very problems.