Greek premier Alexis Tsipras is pinning his hopes on using an EU leaders summit in Riga with eastern European partners from Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan and others to strike the broad outline of a cash-for-reforms deal to stave off default.
Expectations may have been pushed to later this year for when the U.S. Federal Reserve will hike interest rates, but a repeat of another steep sell-off in emerging market stocks appears unlikely as much has already been priced in – and because of the stronger dollar.
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.
Russia’s central bank meets having unexpectedly cut its key policy rate in January by 200 basis points to 15 percent, raising a question mark over its independence from political pressure, given inflation rose to a 13-year high of 16.7 percent in February.
Italy’s lower house approved Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s tax-cutting 2015 budget on Sunday. It will now move on to the Senate, where it must be passed by the end of the year. The budget is at the centre of a tussle with the European Commission, which says it does not do enough to reduce the country’s huge public debt.