U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew moves on to Berlin then Lisbon after spending yesterday in Paris. There, he urged Europe to do more to build up its bank backstops and capital, a fairly clear indication that Washington is underwhelmed by the German model of banking union which has prevailed.
Lew may also press for more German steps to boost domestic demand, after indirectly criticising Berlin for its policies during his last visit in April. If he does, he can expect a robust response from Schaeuble, at least in private.
Lew moves on to Portugal later in the day with Lisbon’s planned exit from its EU/IMF bailout presumably top of the agenda when he meets Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho.
German trade data, just out, showed exports rose for a fourth month running in November but imports dropped quite sharply, pushing the trade surplus higher. So the imbalances that Washington and others in the G20 have complained about are there for all to see. Having said that the shale gas boon seems to be narrowing the U.S. deficit.
November German industry orders figures follow later. Orders dropped by a dramatic 2.2 percent in October so anything short of the forecast 1.5 percent rebound will be disappointing. Euro zone unemployment and retail sales data for November are likely to offer little cheer, with the jobless rate holding at 12.1 percent.