EU ponders new response to Russia

By Mike Peacock
January 27, 2015

A Ukrainian serviceman stands guard at his position in the village of Luhanska, Luhansk region

EU finance ministers meet in Brussels with Ukraine likely to be the centre of attention despite the electoral shockwaves emanating from Athens.

Crunch time

By Mike Peacock
January 22, 2015

ECB President Draghi addresses during ECB news conference in Frankfurt

The biggest policy decision of the year? The first U.S. interest rate rise may trump it whenever it comes and the Swiss National Bank has set the bar pretty high but an awful lot hangs on what the European Central Bank comes up with today.

Davos faces now customary global uncertainty

By Mike Peacock
January 21, 2015

Swiss special police officers observe the surrounding area from atop the roof of Davos Congress Hotel in Davos

The great and good are in Davos facing a rather uncertain landscape yet again (‘twas ever thus for the last seven years).

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.

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.

Sub-zero inflation

By Mike Peacock
January 7, 2015

A sign announcing a discount is pictured at an Electroniki retail chain shop in Athens

Following a dramatic fall in the price of oil, now down at $50 per barrel from above $115 in the middle of last year, euro zone inflation figures for December are likely to turn negative for the first time since 2009.

Inflation vanishes

By Mike Peacock
January 5, 2015

Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB) waits for the start of the European Banking Congress in the Old Opera house in Frankfurt

German inflation figures for December will presage the euro zone number on Wednesday, together offering one of the final pieces of the jigsaw for the European Central Bank before its late January policy meeting at which it could commence a quantitative easing government bond-buying programme.

2015 and all that

By Mike Peacock
December 31, 2014

People watch as confetti falls during the annual "air worthiness" test in preparation for New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square, New York

The last day of the year and all is quiet – but not for long.

Unless the price of oil bounces markedly or Vladimir Putin walks away from Ukraine thereby loosening western sanctions – both unlikely – Russia could be heading for a serious economic fall. Reserves are being burned defending the currency. They are sufficient for now but without hefty tax increases, public spending cuts and/or a higher pension age the outlook for 2016 and beyond is much gloomier.