Could Yemen prompt an oil rally?

By Mike Peacock
March 27, 2015

 
Shi'ite Muslim rebels hold up their weapons during a rally against air strikes in Sanaa

Yemen’s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has fled his refuge in Aden for Saudi Arabia as Houthi rebels battled with his forces on the outskirts of the southern port city.

Yemen slides into civil war

By Mike Peacock
March 26, 2015

A Houthi fighter walks on a vehicle damaged by an air strike at a residential area near Sanaa Airport

Dramatic escalation in Yemen overnight with Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies launching military operations including air strikes in Yemen to counter Iran-allied forces besieging the southern city of Aden where the U.S.-backed president is holed up.

Currency concerns everywhere

By Mike Peacock
March 24, 2015

A bureau de change operator counts U.S. currency notes in Abuja

Currency concerns in the central banking world have come to the fore again.

Sweden cut interest rates further into negative territory out of the blue last week, fearing its strong currency will engender deflation. The Swiss National Bank said it would aim to weaken what it sees as a “significantly overvalued” franc. And the Bank of England flagged the risk that sterling could strengthen further and leave inflation below target for longer.

Tsipras seeking mercy from Merkel

By Mike Peacock
March 23, 2015

Greece's PM Tsipras, EU Parliament President Schulz and Germany's Chancellor Merkel attend a EU leaders summit in Brussels

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras meets Angela Merkel in Berlin late today.

The strategy in Athens seems to be to seek mercy from EU leaders, going over the heads of euro zone finance ministers and the European Central Bank and IMF, hoping that they will see the broad political cost of a Greek collapse rather than focus on the nitty gritty of funding and required economic reforms.
That doesn’t look like a winning strategy.

Bibi rides again

By Mike Peacock
March 18, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves to supporters at the party headquarters in Tel Aviv

Not for the first time, Benjamin Netanyahu has defied the odds and snatched electoral victory from the jaws of defeat.
Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog has just conceded although he has not given up hope of forming a coalition government if Netanyahu fails to.

Decision day in Israel

By Mike Peacock
March 17, 2015

Combination picture of Isaac Herzog, co-leader of the centre-left Zionist Union party, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israelis are going to the polls with the last opinion polls suggesting momentum had shifted to opposition Zionist Union after weeks of running neck-and-neck with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud.

Merkel, seeking firm line with Russia, meets Poroshenko

By Mike Peacock
March 16, 2015

Ukraine's President Poroshenko addresses the commemoration for people killed in anti-government protests in 2014 in Kiev

German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Berlin.

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.

Demand-led German recovery

By Mike Peacock
March 6, 2015

The factory of the company Kronospan is pictured during sunset at the east German town Lampertswalde

An economic trend, like a battle plan, often doesn’t survive the first engagement. Data from euro zone countries has generally surprised on the upside since the turn of the year with Germany leading the way. German growth was robust in Q4, with domestic demand to the fore.

Prescient Yellen saw limits of zero Fed interest rates back in 2009

March 4, 2015

yellen.jpgDespite the Federal Reserve’s trillions of dollars in newly printed money, workers’ wages and overall U.S. inflation have failed to take off since the recession. Longer-term borrowing costs, from 10-year Treasury yields to 30-year home mortgages, have also compressed without any real signs of reversing. While this has perplexed many economists, transcripts of the U.S. central bank’s crisis-fighting meetings in 2009 show that Janet Yellen, then the head of the San Francisco Fed, was prescient in warning colleagues of these very problems.