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.

Brazil’s GDP outlook for 2015 gets slashed again. But is it low enough?

January 16, 2015

Brazil's Finance Minister Joaquim Levy, pictured through a red LED light of a camera, reacts during a news conference at Brazil's Central Bank in BrasiliaMarket 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 back with a bang

By Mike Peacock
January 16, 2015

The logo of the SNB is seen at the entrance of the SNB in Bern

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.

Politics to trump law in QE decision

By Mike Peacock
January 15, 2015

Deutsche Bundesbank President Weidmann arrives for the annual news conference in Frankfurt

If the law was the ultimate arbiter, the European Central Bank would have the most verdant of green lights for an unlimited bond-buying programme with new money. In reality, politics and German concerns will dictate.

Whatever it takes or whatever it can get away with?

By Mike Peacock
January 14, 2015

ECB President Draghi addresses during ECB news conference in Frankfurt

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.

EU talks investment, Germany balances budget

By Mike Peacock
January 13, 2015

juncker.jpg

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.

Europe reviews security

By Mike Peacock
January 12, 2015

French President Hollande welcomes Germany's Chancellor Merkel as she arrives at the Elysee Palace before the solidarity marchin the streets of Paris

After dozens of world leaders including Muslim and Jewish statesmen linked arms and led more than a million French citizens on a march through Paris, Europe has both security and social problems to face following last week’s Islamist attacks.

Major central banks set to go their own way, with some risk

January 9, 2015
Real interest rates of world's major central banks

Real interest rates of world’s major central banks

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.

Europe’s security nightmare

By Mike Peacock
January 9, 2015

Members of the French GIPN intervention police forces secure a neighbourhood in Corcy, northeast of Paris

A massive manhunt continues for two brothers suspected of being the killers of 12 people at a satirical French weekly. The focus is on a large expanse of woodland northeast of Paris.

France grieves and questions

By Mike Peacock
January 8, 2015

Makeshift memorial is seen outside the Consulate General of France during a vigil for the victims of an attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, in San Francisc

The youngest of three French nationals hunted over the killing of 12 people at a satirical magazine turned himself in overnight. The police have named the trio, the two still at large are brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi.