Currency concerns everywhere

By Mike Peacock
March 24, 2015

A bureau de change operator counts U.S. currency notes in Abuja

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.

Tsipras seeking mercy from Merkel

By Mike Peacock
March 23, 2015

Greece's PM Tsipras, EU Parliament President Schulz and Germany's Chancellor Merkel attend a EU leaders summit in Brussels

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras meets Angela Merkel in Berlin late today.

The strategy in Athens seems to be to seek mercy from EU leaders, going over the heads of euro zone finance ministers and the European Central Bank and IMF, hoping that they will see the broad political cost of a Greek collapse rather than focus on the nitty gritty of funding and required economic reforms.
That doesn’t look like a winning strategy.

Differing accounts after late-night Greek talks

March 20, 2015

Hollande, Merkel, Dijsselbloem, Juncker, Tsipras, Tusk and officials during an EU leaders summit in Brussel

After late-night talks in Brussels with key EU leaders and institutional chiefs, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras assured his creditors that he would soon present a full set of economic reforms in order to unlock cash to stave off bankruptcy.

Bibi rides again

By Mike Peacock
March 18, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves to supporters at the party headquarters in Tel Aviv

Not for the first time, Benjamin Netanyahu has defied the odds and snatched electoral victory from the jaws of defeat.
Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog has just conceded although he has not given up hope of forming a coalition government if Netanyahu fails to.

Impatient euro zone tells Greece to get on with it

By Mike Peacock
March 10, 2015

Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis walks past  Eurogroup Chairman Dijsselbloem at a euro zone Finance Ministers meeting in Brussels

The head of euro zone finance ministers urged Greece on Monday to “stop wasting time” and buckle down to serious talks on implementing a reform programme to secure urgently needed funds from its international creditors.

Euro zone data starting to surprise on the upside

By Mike Peacock
March 4, 2015

A truck passes through an electronic toll gate on the A10 highway south of Berlin

A day before the European Central Bank’s monthly meeting, service sector PMI surveys for euro zone countries will be scrutinized to see if they add to a developing trend of above-forecast economic data.

Whisper it, is the euro zone perking up?

By Mike Peacock
February 26, 2015

People walk into the the Mall of Berlin shopping centre in Berlin

The drama of Ukraine and Greece has left old-fashioned economic data in the shade so far this year but, quietly, there are some signs of improvement for the moribund euro zone economy.

The Greek plan is in, breath bated

By Mike Peacock
February 24, 2015

Varoufakis arrives at a news conference after an extraordinary euro zone Finance Ministers meeting in Brussels

Greece sent an economic reform plan to its EU and IMF creditors overnight, according to an EU source, and euro zone finance ministers will this morning see the list which is a condition for extending the country’s bailout programme by four months.

A moment of truth

By Mike Peacock
February 16, 2015

Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis holds his speech notes before a vote of confidence at the parliament in Athens

A meeting of euro zone finance ministers is tasked with producing a deal to keep Greece solvent, which is acceptable to both sides. A similar meeting last week got nowhere despite seven hours of talks.

Greek talks about talks

By Mike Peacock
February 13, 2015

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

The Greek standoff is coming to a head.

A day after euro zone finance ministers couldn’t “even agree to disagree” Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, attending his first EU summit, agreed that Greek officials would meet representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF today.