We all now know by now that British inflation has dipped to slightly less than zero, its weakest since 1960. Much of the recent weakness is down to the same reason inflation is so low in the euro zone, Britain’s main trading partner: the collapse in the price of oil.
Greece’s European lenders have played down hopes of a swift end to aid negotiations and said talks must speed up before the country runs out of cash. That contrasted sharply with optimism in Athens where a series of top officials asserted that a deal was just days away.
Euro zone inflation rose to zero in April from -0.1 percent and in Britain it fell to -0.1 percent from zero, the first negative reading since the 1960s.
Euro zone finance deputies are due to hold talks today on how to rescue Greece but appear to have little concrete to work on with Athens yet to produce a new economic reform programme after the first one was declared full of holes.
Currency concerns in the central banking world have come to the fore again.
Sweden cut interest rates further into negative territory out of the blue last week, fearing its strong currency will engender deflation. The Swiss National Bank said it would aim to weaken what it sees as a “significantly overvalued” franc. And the Bank of England flagged the risk that sterling could strengthen further and leave inflation below target for longer.