EU thinks again on Mediterranean operations

By Mike Peacock
April 23, 2015

Amnesty International volunteers place hundreds of ships with the writing "SOS Europe" on the beach of San Sebastian in Barcelona

EU leaders will hold an emergency summit in Brussels in response to a grimly increasing death toll among migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean from north Africa in search of a better life.

Hopes of Greek Riga deal fade

By Mike Peacock
April 21, 2015

German Chancellor Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Tsipras leave after addressing news conference in Berlin

It wasn’t long ago that both Greece and the euro zone declared a reforms-for-funds deal had to be struck at a euro zone ministerial meeting in Riga on Friday to avert disaster.

Greeks seeking Russian gifts?

By Mike Peacock
April 8, 2015

Greece's PM Tsipras addresses a news conference after an EU leaders summit in Brussels

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is in Moscow.

There has been talk from some in his Syriza party that Russia could be a substitute for EU support. Western sanctions over Ukraine leave it in no position to give Greece funding though the agriculture minister said Moscow could consider removing Greece, Hungary and Cyprus from its ban on most Western food imports, imposed in response to sanctions imposed by the EU and United States.

Reading the ECB runes

By Mike Peacock
April 2, 2015

European Central Bank President Draghi and Vice President Constancio leave after addressing an ECB news conferenc in Frankfurt

The European Central Bank will release minutes – or what it likes to call its account – of the last policy meeting after which it launched into quantitative easing.

Euro zone private lending set to take a small, but crucial, step up

March 23, 2015

RTR4MHNF.jpgThe recent green shoots emerging out of the euro zone economy could look a little more leafy on Thursday when data is likely to show a long-awaited recovery in private bank lending is starting to pick up pace.

Brazil’s job market hints at more painful downturn

March 19, 2015

A job promoter sits close to list of job offers posted along a main street in downtown Sao Paulo

The rapid erosion of Brazil’s job market is taking most economists by surprise, an analysis of Reuters Polls data shows, in a worrying sign that already-grim expectations for Latin America’s largest economy have not been pessimistic enough.

Decision day in Israel

By Mike Peacock
March 17, 2015

Combination picture of Isaac Herzog, co-leader of the centre-left Zionist Union party, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israelis are going to the polls with the last opinion polls suggesting momentum had shifted to opposition Zionist Union after weeks of running neck-and-neck with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud.

Demand-led German recovery

By Mike Peacock
March 6, 2015

The factory of the company Kronospan is pictured during sunset at the east German town Lampertswalde

An economic trend, like a battle plan, often doesn’t survive the first engagement. Data from euro zone countries has generally surprised on the upside since the turn of the year with Germany leading the way. German growth was robust in Q4, with domestic demand to the fore.

Prescient Yellen saw limits of zero Fed interest rates back in 2009

March 4, 2015

yellen.jpgDespite the Federal Reserve’s trillions of dollars in newly printed money, workers’ wages and overall U.S. inflation have failed to take off since the recession. Longer-term borrowing costs, from 10-year Treasury yields to 30-year home mortgages, have also compressed without any real signs of reversing. While this has perplexed many economists, transcripts of the U.S. central bank’s crisis-fighting meetings in 2009 show that Janet Yellen, then the head of the San Francisco Fed, was prescient in warning colleagues of these very problems.

The more things change: Fed wrestled with same policy “exit” issues in 2009

March 4, 2015

bernanke2009.jpgThe Federal Reserve faces two big challenges in the months and years ahead: how to finally “liftoff” after more than six years of rock bottom interest rates, and how to begin drawing down its $4.5-trillion balance sheet after three massive rounds of bond purchases. But, it turns out, those questions were being raised at the U.S. central bank as far back as 2009.