Too close to call

By Mike Peacock
September 9, 2014

Cakes are seen at a tea-party organised by members of the group 'English Scots for YES' near Berwick-upon-Tweed on the border between England and Scotland

A second opinion poll in three days has put the Scottish independence vote as too close to call.

10 days to define the United Kingdom

By Mike Peacock
September 8, 2014

The Flag of Scotland, the Saltire, blows in the wind near Berwick-upon-Tweed on the border between England and Scotland

The earthquake may be about to happen. Over the weekend the first opinion poll putting the independence campaign ahead landed with a resounding thump.

Will the guns fall silent?

By Mike Peacock
September 5, 2014

A Ukrainian serviceman smokes as he sits on an armoured vehicle near Kramatorsk

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the main pro-Russian rebel leader said they would both order ceasefires on Friday, provided that an agreement is signed on a new peace plan to end the five month war in Ukraine’s east.

What’s it all about, Mario?

By Mike Peacock
September 4, 2014

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It’s ECB day and after Mario Draghi’s recent dramatic utterances, expectation for fresh action has grown, expectations which are likely largely to be dashed.

Over to Obama

By Mike Peacock
September 3, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama walks towards Air Force One before departing for Estonia while at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington

Barack Obama is in Estonia before the NATO summit in Wales intending to pressure Vladimir Putin to back off in Ukraine. The rhetoric will be strong – not least about protecting the Baltics under NATO’s umbrella.

Jaw jaw and war war

By Mike Peacock
September 2, 2014

An Ukrainian serviceman is seen next to a sight for a gun near the eastern Ukrainian town of Luhansk

Pro-Russia separatists at talks with representatives from Moscow and the OSCE in Minsk said they would be prepared to stay part of Ukraine if they were granted “special status”, which is unlikely to be acceptable to Kiev.

Nearer the brink

By Mike Peacock
September 1, 2014

A man walks past cutting boards, that have been painted with images of Russia's President Vladimir Putin, at a street store in the center of St. Petersburg

Ukraine is nearer the brink with Russian forces now pretty clearly operating over the border. The past week has seen Ukrainian forces flee in the path of a new rebel advance which Kiev and its western allies says has been directly aided by Moscow’s forces.

The ECB keeps putting up the cash, but where’s the lending?

August 28, 2014

Draghi and TrichetFor the European Central Bank, a lot is riding on euro zone banks ramping up lending to the private sector. Unfortunately, after a very long time, lending still is not growing. It fell 1.6 percent on a year ago in July.

Fed’s embrace of labor market is complete at Jackson Hole, 20 years later

August 26, 2014

Fischer, vice chairman of the Federal Reserve System, speaks with a demonstrator at the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium in Jackson HoleBy Michael Flaherty, Howard Schneider and Jonathan Spicer in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

To dig deeper into the significance of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s message at the annual central banking summit in Jackson Hole this past weekend, go back twenty years to the same event, when a top Fed official sparked a firestorm by showing support for the labor market. At the end of the 1994 symposium, the new Fed vice chairman at the time, Alan Blinder, gave a 14 page overview in which he stressed the point that central banks have a role in reducing unemployment.

UK rate consensus nearly rock-solid even as markets flip-flop over timing

August 20, 2014

BFor all of the flip-flopping in sterling markets in recent months over when the Bank of England will finally lift interest rates off their lowest floor in more than 300 years, the consensus view among forecasters has been remarkably stable.