The Scottish question

By Mike Peacock
August 5, 2014

First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond smiles as he watches a diving event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh

Scottish nationalist leader Alex Salmond and former British finance minister Alistair Darling, who is fronting the campaign to remain part of the United Kingdom, go head-to-head in the first and possibly only live television debate of the campaign. It is a bigger moment for Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, who must garner a shift in the polls which consistently put his “Yes” campaign significantly behind with the referendum only six weeks away.

ECB’s fingers crossed for private loans growth

August 4, 2014

Mostly bereft of policy options except for outright quantitative easing, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi hopes that hundreds of billions of euros more in cheap loans to banks will boost inflation.

A reminder that all is not well in the euro zone

By Mike Peacock
August 4, 2014

Bank of Portugal Governor Costa arrives to read a statement in Lisbon

A reminder that while the euro zone crisis may be in abeyance, it still has the ability to bite.

Britain’s export recovery looking a little more elusive

August 1, 2014

It looks like Britain might have to wait a while longer before its much-touted export recovery materialises.

Q3 rebound but at cost of price cutting?

By Mike Peacock
August 1, 2014

A woman walks past a shop in Madrid

Manufacturing PMI surveys across the euro zone and for Britain are due. The emerging pattern is of an improving third quarter after a generally poor second three months of the year.

Another month, another downside surprise on euro zone inflation

July 31, 2014

sale signsNobody except a born pessimist ever expects a bad situation to get incrementally worse.

Euro zone inflation to fall further?

By Mike Peacock
July 31, 2014

draghi.jpg

Euro zone inflation is the big figure of the day. The consensus forecast is it for hold at a paltry 0.5 percent. Germany’s rate came in as predicted at 0.8 percent on Wednesday but Spain’s was well short at -0.3 percent. So there is clearly a risk that inflation for the currency bloc as a whole falls even further.

EU cuts off Russian banks, puts ball in Moscow’s court

By Mike Peacock
July 30, 2014

Russia's President Vladimir Putin talks to reporters during a meeting in Brasilia

True to its word, the EU agreed sweeping sanctions on Russia yesterday, targeting trade in equipment for the defence and oil sectors and, most crucially, barring Russia’s state-run banks from accessing European capital markets. The measures will be imposed this week and will last for a year initially with three monthly reviews allowing them to be toughened if necessary.

Brazil’s economy: not as bad as it looked?

July 29, 2014

Brazil's President Rousseff looks on during a news conference to present the balance of the 2014 World Cup in Brasilia

Brazil’s economy may have grown by 3 percent in 2012, three times as much as originally reported, according to an ongoing review of GDP data that could solve one of the biggest economic puzzles since the global financial crisis.

Moment of truth for EU sanctions

By Mike Peacock
July 29, 2014

The logo of Russia's top crude producer Rosneft is seen in Moscow

President Barack Obama and the leaders of Germany, Britain, France and Italy agreed on a conference call last night to impose wider sanctions on Russia’s financial, defence and energy sectors.