Air getting thin in Frankfurt: Next week at the ECB

November 13, 2015

The supermoon is seen next to the air-traffic warning light illuminated headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt, Germany, early morning September 28, 2015. Sky-watchers around the world were treated when the shadow of Earth cast a reddish glow on the moon, the result of rare combination of an eclipse with the closest full moon of the year. The total "supermoon" lunar eclipse, also known as a "blood moon" is one that appears bigger and brighter than usual as it reaches the point in its orbit that is closest to Earth.  REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach - RTX1SSIR

The higher you climb, the thinner the oxygen. As it prints more money to help the economy, the European Central Bank has climbed ever steeper. Yet prices, a barometer of economic health, are dangerously close to reversing. If that happens, and shoppers postpone big buys or companies keep a lid on wages, we could see Japan-like stagnation. To avoid that, the ECB is set to top up bond-buying.

Bank of Japan reruns inflation downgrade script

October 30, 2015

BAfter over a decade-and-a-half of aggressive monetary easing through asset purchases, the Bank of Japan still has to revise down its inflation projections just about every six months, almost like clockwork.

Euro zone bank lending sluggish despite tsunami of QE and cheap cash

October 27, 2015

A picture illustration shows Euro banknotes in Zenica

For the European Central Bank, digging deeper into quantitative easing may be the only policy option left, now that growth in bank lending to businesses is stalling again.

Fear could lead Fed into a much more fearsome trap

September 18, 2015

Delaying its first rate hike in nearly a decade after taking a pass in June and July means the U.S. central bank may have stepped further away from an escape from zero rates and $3.7 trillion of asset purchases bloating its balance sheet.

Euro zone bank lending to businesses still in the doldrums

June 26, 2015

About a year ago, the European Central Bank singled out a recovery in bank loans to private businesses as crucial to a lasting economic recovery – and even more crucially for the ECB, a rise in inflation which it targets at 2 percent.

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


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


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.