Syrian game-change

October 1, 2015

Russia’s launching of air strikes in Syria is a potential game-changer, not least because of the row over what it is actually striking. Western officials assert it is attacking not Islamic State but Syrian rebels that in some cases the U.S.-led coalition may be supporting. The mechanics of “deconfliction”, ie making sure Russian aircraft do not accidentally clash with Western warplanes, is a pressing issue, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry saying he now expects urgent discussions. A wider angle is how this transforms Russia’s role in geopolitics, and what indirect effect it might have on other knots of tensions between Moscow and the West, not least Ukraine. Is Vladimir Putin in the process of gradually turning himself from pariah to an awkward yet indispensable player?

Euro zone prices dip in Sept, pulled down by cheaper energy

September 30, 2015

Euro zone prices fell year-on-year in September for the first time in six months, the official estimates showed on Wednesday, highlighting the persistent risk of outright deflation amid a slump in commodities prices.

Back to price stagnation from anaemic inflation in the euro zone?

September 30, 2015

Euro zone inflation data due at 0900 GMT are expected to show that prices stagnated, highlighting the persistent risk of outright deflation amid the slump in commodities prices. They come after the ECB’s preferred measure of inflation expectations — the so-called five-year, five-year break-even forward showing where investors expect 2025 inflation forecasts to be in 2020 — hit its lowest point since February, i.e., before the bank launched its bond-buying stimulus programme in March.

U.S. manufacturing flashing warning signs

September 29, 2015

U.S. manufacturing may be in trouble. Nearly all key indicators measuring the health of manufacturers in the world’s largest economy have disappointed over the past year.

Corbyn the patriot; a grilling for French banker

September 29, 2015

A patriot acting in the defence of decency, fair play and other supposedly British values is how UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will portray himself in his keynote speech to the party’s congress this afternoon, seeking to counter critics who write him off as a loony leftist. He will also expound on his pledge to consult widely on Labour policy — a move some in his own party fear will only confuse voters about what the party actually stands for.

Political uncertainty threatens to tap the brakes on Spain’s fledgling recovery

September 28, 2015

Once one of the hardest-hit economies in Europe from the global financial crisis, Spain’s recent economic success sets a good precedent for the euro zone’s potential for recovery. But political machinations on the horizon could put the progress it has made at risk.

How much longer can consumers underpin Canada’s economy?

September 23, 2015

RTR4MCGY.jpgThe Bank of Canada is hoping the average Canadian continues to do the heavy lifting for the economy and gets it out of its rut from the first half of the year, even with dangerously high household debt levels. That may be a big ask.

Fear could lead Fed into a much more fearsome trap

September 18, 2015

Delaying its first rate hike in nearly a decade after taking a pass in June and July means the U.S. central bank may have stepped further away from an escape from zero rates and $3.7 trillion of asset purchases bloating its balance sheet.

Rate hikes are coming… in Latin America

September 17, 2015

Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen prepares to testify before a House Financial Services committee hearing on Capitol Hill at in Washington

Latin American central banks are watching today’s Federal Reserve meeting very closely. Some are ready to raise their own interest rates, even if Yellen does not pull the trigger now.