Beneath the babble, little sign of Greek progress

By Mike Peacock
June 1, 2015

Greece's Finance Minister Varoufakis and Eurogroup chairman Dijsselbloem talk during an euro zone finance ministers meeting in Brussels

We went into the weekend pondering the Greek government’s expectation that a cash-for-reforms deal would be agreed on Sunday, and we come out the other side with no breakthrough … again.

Greek claim and counter-claim

By Mike Peacock
May 28, 2015

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

Another day of claim and counter-claim.

The Greek government said a deal with its lenders had reached the drafting stage and would not require wages and pensions cuts or reforms to the VAT regime. It didn’t take long for euro zone officials to retort that this simply was not the case and that the two sides remained far apart.

G7 ministers face full in-tray

By Mike Peacock
May 27, 2015

German Chancellor Merkel talks to Finance Minister Schaeuble during a debate of the Bundestag in Berlin

G7 finance ministers and central bankers gather in Dresden later today for a two-day meeting at an interesting juncture for the world economy.

ECB sees inflation back by year-end

By Mike Peacock
May 18, 2015

Mersch, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank presents an oversized newly unveiled 10 euro note at the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt

An interesting weekend intervention by ECB policymaker Yves Mersch who said there was no question of winding up QE early and that inflation, still skulking around zero, would stay there until autumn then rise sharply late in the year towards 1.5 percent.

Watching Draghi at the IMF

By Mike Peacock
May 14, 2015

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

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is in Washington for talks at the International Monetary Fund and will deliver a speech there. Presumably Greece will be item 1, 2, 3 and 4 on the agenda.

French growth leapfrogs Germany’s in Q1

By Mike Peacock
May 13, 2015

The French Pole Emploi stand is seen during the 20th Forum de l'Alternance in Paris

It’s euro zone GDP day. German and French data are already out with Europe’s largest economy growing by 0.3 percent, below both the 0.5 percent forecast and the 0.7 percent achieved in the last three months of 2014.

Riksbank’s policy dilemma

By Mike Peacock
April 29, 2015

Riksbank Governor Stefan Ingves attends a forum organized by Mexico's Central Bank in Mexico City

Sweden’s central bank delivers its latest policy decision with many analysts expecting a further interest rate cut and an expansion of its new bond-buying programme, reflecting its fear of deflation despite solid economic growth.

Data isn’t as objective as the Fed might have you believe

April 28, 2015

SFFedTshirt.jpgFed officials say they will be “data-dependent” when it comes to making monetary policy. San Francisco Fed President John Williams feels so strongly about it, he’s even printed up a T-shirt to get that message across. But truth be told, data-dependency is not as objective as it sounds. Data doesn’t dictate policy; it’s the interpretation of data that’s key. What is rate-hike-worthy data to one policymaker is keep-the-pedal-to-the-metal data for another. Take, for instance, U.S. GDP growth. Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker says he expects GDP growth to average 2 percent to 2.5 percent this year, a pace that would justify a Fed rate hike in June. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans expects 3 percent growth this year, and does not believe even that would justify a rate hike until the first half of 2016. So what does it tell you about monetary policy if you see GDP growth of 2.5 percent? Not a whole lot, judging from these two. And the statements of other Fed officials are hardly more helpful. Indeed, as Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said recently, “I don’t think it is advisable to approach such a decision with rigid quantitative triggers in mind.” Watch the data, sure. But don’t assume the data will tell you much about the exact timing of the rate hike. Monetary policy – it’s subjective. Maybe some policymaker will print that on a T-shirt.

Déjà vu? Fed may struggle to hike if U.S. optimism fades for H2

April 28, 2015

RTR4VVNE.jpgThe U.S. Federal Reserve may find it even more tough to raise interest rates as the year wears on if dwindling expectations for growth are any guide.

Greek rumour mill in overdrive

By Mike Peacock
April 14, 2015

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

Greece returns from its Easter break with only a few days to improve on a package of reforms that the euro zone is insisting on in return for fresh bailout money.