Governments teetering

By Mike Peacock
December 3, 2014

Sweden's PM Lofven speaks at a news conference in Stockholm

Sweden’s centre-left administration is on the brink just two months into office after a far-right party announced it would side with the centre-right opposition to vote against the 2015 budget. The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats, who are shunned by all other parties in the Riksdag, holds the balance of power.

EU leaders meet for a gas

By Mike Peacock
October 23, 2014

France's President Hollande talks with German Chancellor Merkel  during a meeting on the sidelines of a Europe-Asia summit in Milan

A two-day summit of EU leaders is supposed to focus on climate and energy policy including efforts to enhance energy security following the threat of interruptions to gas supplies from Russia.

Battle lines drawn

By Mike Peacock
October 13, 2014

Germany's Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schauble speaks during a discussion during the World Bank/IMF annual meetings in Washington

The predictable battle lines were drawn at the G20/IMF meetings in Washington – most of the world urged Europe to do more to foster growth while Germany warned against letting up on austerity. The argument will doubtless be reprised today when euro zone finance ministers meet in Luxembourg.

French budget to fire EU growth debate

By Mike Peacock
October 1, 2014

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France is unveiling its 2015 budget right now and it’s not making pretty reading, confirming that Paris will not get its budget deficit down to the EU limit of three percent of GDP until 2017, years after it should have done.

Will French numbers add up?

By Mike Peacock
April 23, 2014

French President Francois Hollande’s cabinet meets to adopt a new debt reduction plan.

Five days on, Ukraine accord at risk of unravelling

By Mike Peacock
April 22, 2014

An international agreement to avert wider conflict in Ukraine, brokered only five days ago, is teetering with pro-Moscow separatist gunmen showing no sign of surrendering government buildings and Kiev and Moscow trading accusations over who was responsible for killings over the weekend.

Moments difficiles

By Mike Peacock
November 8, 2013

Breaking news is S&P’s downgrade of France’s credit rating to AA from AA+ putting it two notches below Germany. Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici has rushed out to declare French debt is among the safest and most liquid in the euro zone, which is true.

Is Congress the ‘enabler’ of a loose Fed?

May 22, 2013

We heard it more than once at today’s hearing of the Joint Economic Committee featuring Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke: the central bank’s low interest rate policies are allowing Congress to delay tough decisions on long-term spending.

The fading strength of U.S. exports

December 11, 2012

U.S. exports posted their biggest drop in nearly four years in October, pushing the U.S. trade deficit higher despite a decline in imports to their lowest level in 1-1/2 years.

The vote that counts for markets

By Mike Peacock
November 7, 2012

The American people have spoken but for the markets the votes of 300 Greeks could be of even more importance in the short-term. German Bund futures have opened flat, not really reacting to Obama’s victory, while European stocks have eked out some early gains.
       
We await a knife-edge parliamentary vote in Athens on labour reforms to cut wages and severance payments, which the EU and IMF insist are a key part of a new bailout deal, but which the smallest party in the coalition government has pledged to vote against. That leaves the two larger parties – New Democracy and PASOK – with a working majority of just nine lawmakers and on a less contentious vote on privatizations, a number of PASOK deputies rebelled. Ratcheting up the pressure is a second day of a general strike which will see thousands take to the streets.