Russia invites new sanctions

By Mike Peacock
January 28, 2015

Ukrainian servicemen stand guard on a street near the burning building after a shelling by pro-Russian rebels of a residential sector in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine

Ukrainian separatists said they had pushed government troops out of two districts on the outskirts of their main stronghold Donetsk and their aim was to expand control to the entire eastern region.

EU ponders new response to Russia

By Mike Peacock
January 27, 2015

A Ukrainian serviceman stands guard at his position in the village of Luhanska, Luhansk region

EU finance ministers meet in Brussels with Ukraine likely to be the centre of attention despite the electoral shockwaves emanating from Athens.

Game on in Greece

By Mike Peacock
January 26, 2015

The head of radical leftist Syriza party Tsipras waves to supporters after winning the elections in Athens

Syriza has fallen tantalisingly short of an overall majority, winning 149 of 300 Greek parliamentary seats and taking 36.3 percent of the vote, 8.5 points ahead of the New Democracy party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in what amounts to a decisive rejection of austerity.

Clean sweep for Draghi?

By Mike Peacock
January 23, 2015

European Central Bank President Draghi and Vice President Constancio leave after addressing an ECB news conferenc in Frankfurt

Mario Draghi’s peerless track record of eliciting the market response he wants remains unblemished after the ECB’s quantitative easing surprised on the upside – at 60 billion euros a month for at least 19 months it will exceed 1 trillion euros.

Greece: A game of chicken

By Mike Peacock
January 19, 2015

Alexis Tsipras, opposition leader and head of radical leftist Syriza party, looks on as he speaks during a party congress in Athens

With six days until elections, the polls have been remarkably steady in Greece, giving anti-bailout Syriza a narrow but consistent lead that suggests this time next week it will be the largest party in parliament with a mandate to form a coalition government.

EU talks investment, Germany balances budget

By Mike Peacock
January 13, 2015

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The European Commission will unveil legislative proposals for its 315 billion euro investment plan and the findings of a public consultation on the investment elements of a planned EU-U.S. free trade deal which could significantly boost growth.

Europe reviews security

By Mike Peacock
January 12, 2015

French President Hollande welcomes Germany's Chancellor Merkel as she arrives at the Elysee Palace before the solidarity marchin the streets of Paris

After dozens of world leaders including Muslim and Jewish statesmen linked arms and led more than a million French citizens on a march through Paris, Europe has both security and social problems to face following last week’s Islamist attacks.

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.

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.

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.