MORNING BID EUROPE-Slowing world economy takes toll

December 9, 2015

German imports fell sharply in October and exports also weakened, suggesting Europe’s largest economy is still struggling to shake off the impact of a slowdown in China and other emerging markets. Meanwhile Britain’s Chambers of Commerce is lowering its forecasts for UK economic growth over the next three years, with the slowing world economy again the root cause. That comes before the Bank of England’s latest rate-setting meeting on Thursday: no change seen for now, but BoE chief Mark Carney could use the publication of the meeting’s minutes to tweak expectations for when the hike could come (currently seen as much as a year or more away).

November U.S. jobs report could be a bright spot in fading outlook for hiring

December 4, 2015

Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on the "Federal Reserve's Supervision and Regulation of the Financial System" in Washington November 4, 2015.       REUTERS/Gary Cameron  - RTX1UQNK

The U.S. November jobs report is expected shortly, and in all likelihood it will be a solid one. But forecasts around future employment are not quite so optimistic.

We need to talk about Hong Kong’s property market. Again.

December 3, 2015

Fireworks with the word "Win" explode over Victoria Harbour to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year in Hong KongWill 2016 be the year when the seemingly bullet-proof Hong Kong real estate market finally cracks?

No longer the worst of times for euro zone unemployment, but still a long way down to go

December 1, 2015

French non-union self-employed workers attend a demonstration against the RSI (social security for independent workers) in Paris, France, September 21, 2015. The banner reads"Too many taxes equal unemployment".    REUTERS/Charles Platiau - RTX1RQM4

Finally there’s some good news on an economic statistic that really matters for the euro zone’s future – unemployment.

Citi sticks out with Q2 2017 Bank of England UK rate hike call

November 30, 2015

UK inflation expectations are slipping again, and so has Citi’s forecast for UK rates — rather dramatically.

Euro zone bank lending “glacial” but improving

November 26, 2015

The Aletsch Glacier is pictured in Riederalp, Switzerland, August 23, 2015. One of Europe's biggest glaciers, the Great Aletsch coils 23 km (14 miles) through the Swiss Alps - and yet this mighty river of ice could almost vanish in the lifetimes of people born today because of climate change. The glacier, 900 metres (2,950 feet) thick at one point, has retreated about 3 km (1.9 miles) since 1870 and that pace is quickening.  REUTERS/Denis Balibouse??PICTURE 19 OF 31 FOR WIDER IMAGE STORY "EARTHPRINTS: ALETSCH GLACIER". SEARCH "EARTHPRINTS ALETSCH" FOR ALL IMAGES. - RTS4K1G

The European Central Bank is starting to see a bit of what it wants, just as it’s dropped probably the heaviest hints ever for an increase in monetary easing.

Potholes could be dead ahead in the road soon after Fed rate hike

November 20, 2015

Patches on top of patches covering potholes litter a road in Sonoma County, California, May 9, 2013. Harrison, a local resident and attorney, is part of a grass-roots campaign to fix the crumbling roads of Sonoma County, which is struggling with the same type of government financial crisis that has driven California cities such as Stockton and San Bernardino into bankruptcy. Picture taken May 9, 2013.   REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach   (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS TRAVEL) - RTX1053C

The Federal Reserve’s planned smooth and gradual rate hike path may be bumpier than anticipated if U.S. economic growth over the next several months and punishingly cold winter weather follow a well-established recent pattern.

With such similar inflation, how far behind the Fed can the BoE be?

November 18, 2015

RTR4OY3Z.jpgNot long ago, the big debate was over who would raise rates first, the U.S. Federal Reserve or the Bank of England. Now with the Fed giving clear signals it’s on the brink of hiking and the BoE appearing to be pushing that day further off into the future, one could naturally conclude that the inflation outlook in both economies is vastly different.

Exports continue to give cold shoulder to Bank of Canada’s Poloz

November 13, 2015

Ever since Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz took office, he has preached the merits of a weaker currency for Canadian exports. But the roughly 30 percent fall in the dollar since then has failed to coax an export-based revival in Canada.

Air getting thin in Frankfurt: Next week at the ECB

November 13, 2015

The supermoon is seen next to the air-traffic warning light illuminated headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt, Germany, early morning September 28, 2015. Sky-watchers around the world were treated when the shadow of Earth cast a reddish glow on the moon, the result of rare combination of an eclipse with the closest full moon of the year. The total "supermoon" lunar eclipse, also known as a "blood moon" is one that appears bigger and brighter than usual as it reaches the point in its orbit that is closest to Earth.  REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach - RTX1SSIR

The higher you climb, the thinner the oxygen. As it prints more money to help the economy, the European Central Bank has climbed ever steeper. Yet prices, a barometer of economic health, are dangerously close to reversing. If that happens, and shoppers postpone big buys or companies keep a lid on wages, we could see Japan-like stagnation. To avoid that, the ECB is set to top up bond-buying.