The prospect of dramatic European Central Bank action – coupled with the deflationary threat posed by a plunge in the price of oil and the pain it inflicts on oil producing countries – is putting the financial system under growing stress.
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.
Market forecasts for Brazil’s economic growth this year have been falling steadily for months, reaching a meager 0.5 percent in Reuters latest quarterly poll published on Thursday. One year ago, a similar survey predicted growth of 2.5 percent in 2015.
Volatility is back with a bang.
The Swiss franc leapt by an unprecedented 40 percent at one point after the Swiss National Bank scrapped its currency cap out of the blue. Oil may have bounced but it’s still down the thick end of 60 percent since mid-2014, dragging the rouble and other oil-producer currencies with it. Copper, generally a barometer of world industrial demand, is barely finding its feet after plunging this week.
Markets are beginning to ponder just how definitive the European Central Bank may be next week in launching quantitative easing. One reason is today’s ruling at the European Court of Justice.
The European Commission will unveil legislative proposals for its 315 billion euro investment plan and the findings of a public consultation on the investment elements of a planned EU-U.S. free trade deal which could significantly boost growth.
The world’s major central banks have long followed the same general flight path, guided by the economic winds of growth, inflation and financial markets. It has worked pretty well for policymakers in the United States, Europe, Japan, and the United Kingdom: moving together to tighten or loosen monetary policy makes things more predictable for citizens, businesses and investors. It also serves as buffer to any volatile currency movements, at least among developed economies. But six years after the worst recession in decades, this could be the year central bankers split off and – with some risk – go their own way.