Europe’s security nightmare

By Mike Peacock
January 9, 2015

Members of the French GIPN intervention police forces secure a neighbourhood in Corcy, northeast of Paris

A massive manhunt continues for two brothers suspected of being the killers of 12 people at a satirical French weekly. The focus is on a large expanse of woodland northeast of Paris.

France grieves and questions

By Mike Peacock
January 8, 2015

Makeshift memorial is seen outside the Consulate General of France during a vigil for the victims of an attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, in San Francisc

The youngest of three French nationals hunted over the killing of 12 people at a satirical magazine turned himself in overnight. The police have named the trio, the two still at large are brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi.

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.

Putin faces the music

By Mike Peacock
December 18, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow

With a deep recession looming and the nose-diving rouble poised to push inflation through the roof, Russia’s Vladimir Putin faces the music at his end-of-year news conference when he will field questions from a studio audience as well as television viewers.

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.

ECB numbers game

By Mike Peacock
December 11, 2014

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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.

Greek gamble

By Mike Peacock
December 9, 2014

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras smiles during a news conference with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Cyprus' President Nicos Anastasiades after their summit at the presidential palace in Cairo

The Greek government has taken a huge gamble, bringing forward by two months to next a week a parliamentary vote on a new president. Two further rounds of voting will be held before the year-end.