More Greek talks, Riga summit unlikely to be decisive

By Mike Peacock
May 20, 2015

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

Greece’s European lenders have played down hopes of a swift end to aid negotiations and said talks must speed up before the country runs out of cash. That contrasted sharply with optimism in Athens where a series of top officials asserted that a deal was just days away.

Cameron begins his Scottish dance

By Mike Peacock
May 15, 2015

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron pass each other as they pay tribute at the Cenotaph to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day in London

British Prime Minister David Cameron will hold talks in Scotland with the other big winner in last week’s elections, Scottish nationalist leader Nicola Sturgeon, who has already warned him it cannot be “business as usual” with Scotland.

French growth leapfrogs Germany’s in Q1

By Mike Peacock
May 13, 2015

The French Pole Emploi stand is seen during the 20th Forum de l'Alternance in Paris

It’s euro zone GDP day. German and French data are already out with Europe’s largest economy growing by 0.3 percent, below both the 0.5 percent forecast and the 0.7 percent achieved in the last three months of 2014.

U.S. growth outlook snowed under yet again

April 29, 2015

SFor many years in a row, since a form of feeble recovery began from the worst financial crisis in more than 80 years, a similar pattern of déjà vu has set in for the U.S. economy.

Data isn’t as objective as the Fed might have you believe

April 28, 2015

SFFedTshirt.jpgFed officials say they will be “data-dependent” when it comes to making monetary policy. San Francisco Fed President John Williams feels so strongly about it, he’s even printed up a T-shirt to get that message across. But truth be told, data-dependency is not as objective as it sounds. Data doesn’t dictate policy; it’s the interpretation of data that’s key. What is rate-hike-worthy data to one policymaker is keep-the-pedal-to-the-metal data for another. Take, for instance, U.S. GDP growth. Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker says he expects GDP growth to average 2 percent to 2.5 percent this year, a pace that would justify a Fed rate hike in June. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans expects 3 percent growth this year, and does not believe even that would justify a rate hike until the first half of 2016. So what does it tell you about monetary policy if you see GDP growth of 2.5 percent? Not a whole lot, judging from these two. And the statements of other Fed officials are hardly more helpful. Indeed, as Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said recently, “I don’t think it is advisable to approach such a decision with rigid quantitative triggers in mind.” Watch the data, sure. But don’t assume the data will tell you much about the exact timing of the rate hike. Monetary policy – it’s subjective. Maybe some policymaker will print that on a T-shirt.

Déjà vu? Fed may struggle to hike if U.S. optimism fades for H2

April 28, 2015

RTR4VVNE.jpgThe U.S. Federal Reserve may find it even more tough to raise interest rates as the year wears on if dwindling expectations for growth are any guide.

Tsipras talks up May deal with creditors

By Mike Peacock
April 28, 2015

Greece's PM Tsipras, Malta's PM Muscat, EU Commission President Juncker and France's President Hollande attend an EU leaders summit in Brussels

In his first major television interview since being elected in January, Greek premier Alexis Tsipras said last night he expected a deal with creditors by May 9 and that he would call a referendum if they insist on demands that the government deems unacceptable, leaving it to the Greek people to decide which way to jump.

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.

Euro may not be on a one-way road to parity

March 17, 2015

RTR4SXKP.jpgSigns the euro zone economy may have turned a corner just as many begin to question the timing of a U.S. interest rate hike could soon put a floor under the euro after a 13 percent plunge so far this year.

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.