from MacroScope:

Rampant inflation to keep Russian central bank tight

By Mike Peacock
January 30, 2015

Russian roubles are seen in this illustration picture taken in Moscow

Russia’s central bank meets having shoved interest rates up to an eye-watering 17 percent late last year.
The central bank has said rates can only come down if inflation was trending lower. It was running above 11 percent last month and the government expects it to peak at 17 percent.

from MacroScope:

EU ponders another round of Russia sanctions

By Mike Peacock
January 29, 2015

Ukrainian servicemen sit atop an armored personnel carrier as they patrol Orekhovo village in Luhansk

EU foreign ministers hold an extraordinary meeting today after their leaders have asked them to consider possible new sanctions on Russia. A final decision to impose them is likely to be left to their bosses who meet in next month and again in March.

from MacroScope:

Russia invites new sanctions

By Mike Peacock
January 28, 2015

Ukrainian servicemen stand guard on a street near the burning building after a shelling by pro-Russian rebels of a residential sector in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine

Ukrainian separatists said they had pushed government troops out of two districts on the outskirts of their main stronghold Donetsk and their aim was to expand control to the entire eastern region.

from MacroScope:

EU ponders new response to Russia

By Mike Peacock
January 27, 2015

A Ukrainian serviceman stands guard at his position in the village of Luhanska, Luhansk region

EU finance ministers meet in Brussels with Ukraine likely to be the centre of attention despite the electoral shockwaves emanating from Athens.

from MacroScope:

Game on in Greece

By Mike Peacock
January 26, 2015

The head of radical leftist Syriza party Tsipras waves to supporters after winning the elections in Athens

Syriza has fallen tantalisingly short of an overall majority, winning 149 of 300 Greek parliamentary seats and taking 36.3 percent of the vote, 8.5 points ahead of the New Democracy party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in what amounts to a decisive rejection of austerity.

from MacroScope:

Greece: A game of chicken

By Mike Peacock
January 19, 2015

Alexis Tsipras, opposition leader and head of radical leftist Syriza party, looks on as he speaks during a party congress in Athens

With six days until elections, the polls have been remarkably steady in Greece, giving anti-bailout Syriza a narrow but consistent lead that suggests this time next week it will be the largest party in parliament with a mandate to form a coalition government.

from The Great Debate:

U.S. sanctions fail two-thirds of the time. And allies are often to blame

By Bryan Early
January 5, 2015

Handout photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guiding the multiple-rocket launching drill of women's sub-units under KPA Unit 851

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides a multiple-rocket launching drill in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, Dec. 30, 2014. REUTERS/KCNA

from MacroScope:

2015 and all that

By Mike Peacock
December 31, 2014

People watch as confetti falls during the annual "air worthiness" test in preparation for New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square, New York

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.

from Breakingviews:

Ukraine crisis forced into suspended animation for 2015

December 29, 2014

By Pierre Briançon

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

from MacroScope:

Day of reckoning for Greece

By Mike Peacock
December 29, 2014

Greece's PM Samaras addresses the audience during the Economist Conference on "The big rethink for Europe, the big turning point for Greece" in Athens

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.