Crunch time

By Mike Peacock
January 22, 2015

ECB President Draghi addresses during ECB news conference in Frankfurt

The biggest policy decision of the year? The first U.S. interest rate rise may trump it whenever it comes and the Swiss National Bank has set the bar pretty high but an awful lot hangs on what the European Central Bank comes up with today.

Ripples from ECB even before it acts

By Mike Peacock
January 20, 2015

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The prospect of dramatic European Central Bank action – coupled with the deflationary threat posed by a plunge in the price of oil and the pain it inflicts on oil producing countries – is putting the financial system under growing stress.

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.

Volatility back with a bang

By Mike Peacock
January 16, 2015

The logo of the SNB is seen at the entrance of the SNB in Bern

Volatility is back with a bang.

The Swiss franc leapt by an unprecedented 40 percent at one point after the Swiss National Bank scrapped its currency cap out of the blue. Oil may have bounced but it’s still down the thick end of 60 percent since mid-2014, dragging the rouble and other oil-producer currencies with it. Copper, generally a barometer of world industrial demand, is barely finding its feet after plunging this week.

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.

Draghi to talk the talk, no walk yet

By Mike Peacock
December 4, 2014

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The European Central Bank meets today with the debate about quantitative easing running hot after Mario Draghi declared “excessively low” inflation had to be raised fast and that the ECB would act more forcefully if its existing efforts to pump money into the ailing euro zone economy fall short.

Euro zone litmus tests

By Mike Peacock
November 27, 2014

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Two vital gauges of euro zone progress, or lack of it, today.

German inflation for November is forecast to slip to 0.6 percent and will cue up the euro zone figure on Friday, which is predicted to come in at just 0.3 percent. Spanish inflation, due earlier, is forecast to come in at -0.3 percent.

UK politics thrown up in the air

By Mike Peacock
November 21, 2014

Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, cheers as it is announced that UKIP candidate Mark Reckless won the by-election at Medway Park in Gillingham

As predicted, Britain’s surging anti-EU party UKIP snatched a second parliamentary seat from the ruling Conservatives overnight.

Will Germany’s Q4 get any better?

By Mike Peacock
November 18, 2014

Traders are pictured at their desks in front of the DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange

Germany’s ZEW index will give an indication of whether the fourth quarter will be any better for Europe’s largest economy after it barely escaped recession in Q3. In October, the index dropped to its lowest level in nearly two years.

Draghi back in the dock

By Mike Peacock
November 17, 2014

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European Central Bank President Mario Draghi faces lengthy interrogation at the European Parliament today.