No Greek deal in Riga but glimmers of convergence

By Mike Peacock
April 24, 2015

Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis attends a parliamentary session in Athens

We’ve been saying it for a week or more and it’s now confirmed – the lack of an economic reform programme forthcoming from Athens means today’s meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Riga can achieve no breakthrough despite glimmers of the two sides moving closer.

Some progress cited in Greek talks, but not enough

By Mike Peacock
April 22, 2015

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

Euro zone finance deputies are due to hold talks today on how to rescue Greece but appear to have little concrete to work on with Athens yet to produce a new economic reform programme after the first one was declared full of holes.

Hopes of Greek Riga deal fade

By Mike Peacock
April 21, 2015

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

It wasn’t long ago that both Greece and the euro zone declared a reforms-for-funds deal had to be struck at a euro zone ministerial meeting in Riga on Friday to avert disaster.

EU forced to confront Med migrant crisis

By Mike Peacock
April 20, 2015

A rescue vessel is seen during the search and rescue operation underway after a boat carrying migrants capsized overnight, with up to 700 feared dead, in this still image taken from video

EU foreign ministers will discuss action on migration across the Mediterranean at a meeting in Luxembourg today. As many as 700 people are feared dead after a fishing boat packed with migrants capsized off the Libyan coast over the weekend.

Huge gaps to bridge in Greek negotiations

By Mike Peacock
April 17, 2015

Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis speaks at the Brookings Institution in Washington

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told Reuters on Thursday he was “firmly optimistic” of reaching an agreement with Greece’s creditors. But he acknowledged that the two sides disagreed on four major issues: labour rules, pension reform, a hike in value-added taxes and privatisations.

Greek drama shifts to Washington

By Mike Peacock
April 16, 2015

German Finance Minister Schaeuble attends news conference in Berlin

Much of the action switches to Washington where G20 finance ministers and central bankers are gathering for the IMF’s spring conference.

Greeks seeking Russian gifts?

By Mike Peacock
April 8, 2015

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

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is in Moscow.

There has been talk from some in his Syriza party that Russia could be a substitute for EU support. Western sanctions over Ukraine leave it in no position to give Greece funding though the agriculture minister said Moscow could consider removing Greece, Hungary and Cyprus from its ban on most Western food imports, imposed in response to sanctions imposed by the EU and United States.

Greek plan – a detailed programme or vague list of ideas?

By Mike Peacock
March 30, 2015

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

The Greek government has sent a reform package to its EU and International Monetary Fund creditors, hoping it will unlock desperately needed funds to stave off bankruptcy.

Another Russian rate cut?

By Mike Peacock
March 13, 2015

A cashier takes a 500-rouble banknote from a cash register as she serves a customer at the Vinoteka specialised wine and vodka store in Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk

Russia’s central bank meets having unexpectedly cut its key policy rate in January by 200 basis points to 15 percent, raising a question mark over its independence from political pressure, given inflation rose to a 13-year high of 16.7 percent in February.

Ukraine to get serious money

By Mike Peacock
March 12, 2015

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Lagarde speaks about the situation in Ukraine at a news conference in Brussels

The International Monetary Fund surprised on the upside with its programme for Ukraine last night, agreeing $17.5 billion in loans as expected but agreeing to pump $10 billion of that into the near bankrupt country over the next year and handing over $5 billion imminently.