Putin desperately seeking gas deal

By Mike Peacock
May 20, 2014

Ukraine seems to be in something of a holding pattern before Sunday’s election though the question of how those polls can be securely conducted in parts of the country where pro-Russian rebels want to secede remains a very live one.

Scrambling to flesh out skeleton Fed board

April 25, 2014

“It’s about time” was the general reaction when on Thursday the Senate Banking Committee scheduled a vote on Barack Obama’s nominees for the Federal Reserve board. Not that Stanley Fischer, Lael Brainard and Jerome Powell (a sitting governor who needs re-confirmation) have been waiting all that long; it was January that the U.S. president nominated them as central bank governors, and only a month ago that the trio testified to the committee. The urgency and even anxiety had more to do with the fact that only four members currently sit on the Fed’s seven-member board and one of those, Jeremy Stein, is retiring in a month. The 100-year old Fed has never had only three governors, and the thought of the policy and administrative headaches that would bring was starting to stress people out. After all, the Fed under freshly-minted chair Janet Yellen is in the midst of its most difficult policy reversal ever.

Will French numbers add up?

By Mike Peacock
April 23, 2014

French President Francois Hollande’s cabinet meets to adopt a new debt reduction plan.

Five days on, Ukraine accord at risk of unravelling

By Mike Peacock
April 22, 2014

An international agreement to avert wider conflict in Ukraine, brokered only five days ago, is teetering with pro-Moscow separatist gunmen showing no sign of surrendering government buildings and Kiev and Moscow trading accusations over who was responsible for killings over the weekend.

Ukraine inching back to the brink

By Mike Peacock
April 8, 2014

Pro-Moscow protesters in eastern Ukraine took up arms in one city and declared a separatist republic in another yesterday and the new build-up of tensions continues this morning.

Erdogan unfettered

By Mike Peacock
March 31, 2014

Investors have spent months looking askance at Turkey’s corruption scandal and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s response to it – purging the police and judiciary of people he believes are acolytes of his enemy, U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. But it appears to have made little difference to his electorate.

A question of energy

By Mike Peacock
March 26, 2014

After two days in The Hague, Barack Obama moves on to Brussels for an EU/U.S. summit with Ukraine still casting the longest shadow.

The much-anticipated “capex” boom? It’s already happening, and stocks don’t care

March 21, 2014

It’s a familiar narrative: companies will finally start investing the trillions of dollars of cash they’re sitting on, unleashing a capital expenditure boom that will drive the global economy and lift stock markets this year.

How stiff is EU’s resolve?

By Mike Peacock
March 20, 2014

Russian troops seized two Ukrainian naval bases, including a headquarters in Sevastopol where they raised their flag. Moscow, continuing to insist it does not control the unbadged militia in Crimea, called for a detained Ukrainian navy commander to be freed, which has now happened. Make of that what you will.

Osborne stakes out election ground with little fiscal leeway

By Mike Peacock
March 19, 2014

The annual UK budget is always a big set piece but it’s hard to remember one where there have been fewer advance leaks – indicative of a steady-as-she-goes approach by George Osborne.
Having put so much political capital into reducing the deficit, to switch now at a time when the economy is recovering strongly would be politically risky. And with debt falling only slowly there is little fiscal leeway.