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.

No inflation, not much growth

By Mike Peacock
January 6, 2015

A metal sculpture depicting a stock exchange chart is seen in the reception hall of the Athens Stock Exchange in Athens

Euro zone service sector PMI readings for December are unlikely to alter European Central Bank thinking about taking the ultimate policy leap and commencing a quantitative easing government bond-buying programme, possibly at its Jan. 22 meeting.

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.

Day of reckoning for Greece

By Mike Peacock
December 29, 2014

Greece's PM Samaras addresses the audience during the Economist Conference on "The big rethink for Europe, the big turning point for Greece" in Athens

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras faces a final parliamentary vote on his presidential candidate. Lose and he will have to call snap elections early next year which polls suggest anti-bailout Syriza would win. A result is expected around 1100 GMT.

Russian currency crisis

By Mike Peacock
December 16, 2014

Russia's Central Bank Governor Nabiullina applauds during the VTB Capital "Russia Calling!" Investment Forum in Moscow

After the central bank dramatically raised interest rates by 6.5 percentage points to 17 percent overnight, Russia has given up any pretence that it is not in the grip of a currency crisis.

Incremental French reform steps

By Mike Peacock
December 12, 2014

French Prime Minister Valls and Economy Minister Macron leave a press conference to present the "Law on Growth and Activity" plans at the Elysee Palace in Paris

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls meets ministers to discuss the next leg of the government’s reform agenda. Documents will be published afterwards.

ECB numbers game

By Mike Peacock
December 11, 2014


European Central Bank President Mario Draghi pushed the envelope as far as he could last week, saying a review early next year would decide whether money-printing to buy government bonds was needed. He said he didn’t need unanimity within the ECB to force it through.

As Greece teeters, France and Italy talk reform

By Mike Peacock
December 10, 2014

France's President Hollande talks with Italy's Prime Minister Renzi during the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Milan

With the Greek government again in peril and Italy flirting with a junk credit rating, it’s all starting to feel a bit familiar.
Greek stocks suffered their steepest daily fall in more than a quarter century on Tuesday after Prime Minister Antonis Samaras brought forward a presidential election.

Merkel raps Italy, France over budgets

By Mike Peacock
December 8, 2014

France's President Hollande talks with Italy's Prime Minister Renzi during the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Milan

Euro zone finance ministers meet in Brussels to discuss member states’ 2015 budget plans. We know the European Commission thinks France, Italy and Belgium are breaking EU deficit rules but will defer decisions on any action until March. At that point, France could face a multi-billion euro fine and Italy and Belgium be put on a disciplinary programme.