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.

Greeks vote again

By Mike Peacock
December 23, 2014

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is seen inside the parliament during Presidential vote

A second round of voting in the Greek parliament on the government’s nominee for president takes place today.

Russia’s plight

By Mike Peacock
December 22, 2014

Russia's President Putin chairs a meeting of the Security Council at the Russian defense control center in Moscow

Trying to predict the rouble’s path is a fool’s charter but it’s fairly safe to say it won’t return to a level that will take pressure off the Russian economy. It has opened 2 percent higher versus the dollar in Moscow this morning, mirroring a rise in oil from $60 a barrel.

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.

The only way is down?

By Mike Peacock
December 17, 2014

A man walks out of a building past a board showing currency exchange rates in Moscow

No further dramatic interventions by the Russian authorities overnight with the result that the rouble has opened five percent weaker against the dollar in Moscow.

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.

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.

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.

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.