Euro zone triptych

By Mike Peacock
February 22, 2013

Three big events today which will tell us a lot about the euro zone and its struggle to pull out of economic malaise despite the European Central Bank having removed break-up risk from the table.

A statement of non-intent

By Mike Peacock
February 12, 2013

The flurry of activity about a G7 currency statement yesterday can now be put in perspective. It will almost certainly happen but it’s very much going through the motions.

Currency chatter

By Mike Peacock
February 11, 2013

With the rhetoric getting more heated, the three-year market fixation on bond yields could well be supplanted by currencies in the months ahead.

Super, or not so super, Thursday

By Mike Peacock
February 7, 2013

For those who thought the euro zone had lost the power to liven things up, today should make you think again.

Irish setback

By Mike Peacock
January 28, 2013

We’ve been saying for some time that while the immediate heat may be off the euro zone, therein lies a danger – that policymakers will relax their efforts to remould the bloc into a tougher structure that can withstand future crises, and possibly even allow this crisis to flare back into life.

Europe and the danger of soft-pedalling

By Mike Peacock
January 21, 2013

No one really questions Angela Merkel’s supremacy in Germany but losing the key state of Lower Saxony in a Sunday election, albeit by the narrowest of margins, means we’ll have to put on ice proclamations that her re-election for a third term in the autumn is now merely a procession. The centre-left SPD and Greens won the state by a single seat. Merkel and others will speak about the result today. What it probably does affirm is that the Chancellor will be extremely cautious about agreeing to more euro zone crisis fighting measures before the national election is safely out of the way.

Glimmer of Greek hope

By Mike Peacock
November 23, 2012

There are signs of headway from Athens where we have just snapped a government source saying the IMF accepts Greek debt is “viable” if it falls to 124 percent of GDP in 2020, rather than the 120 that it had previously decreed was the maximum sustainable level.. The source said fresh measures have been found to reduce debt to 130 percent of GDP by 2020, leaving another 10 billion euros to be covered.

The Greek “cliff”

By Mike Peacock
November 19, 2012

Some key positions were staked out on Greece over the weekend – ECB power-behind-the throne Joerg Asmussen became the first euro policymaker to say on the record that euro zone finance ministers meeting on Tuesday would be intent only on finding a deal to tide Greece over the next two years. But IMF chief Christine Lagarde told us in an interview that she would push for a permanent solution to Greece’s debts to avoid prolonged uncertainty and further damage to the Greek economy.
  
Sounds like those two positions could be mutually exclusive. However, it may be that something like a behind-the-scenes pledge from the German government that it will act decisively after next year’s election will keep the IMF on board.

Greek show still on the road

By Mike Peacock
November 8, 2012

The Greek government pulled it off last night, winning parliamentary approval for an austerity package which offers yet more deep spending cuts, tax rises and measures to make it easier and cheaper to hire and fire workers. But boy was it tight. With the smallest member of the coalition rejecting the labour measures, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras carried the day by just a handful of votes. The overall budget bill is expected to be pushed through parliament on Sunday.

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.