Greek talks about talks

By Mike Peacock
February 13, 2015

Greece's PM Tsipras addresses a news conference after an EU leaders summit in Brussels

The Greek standoff is coming to a head.

A day after euro zone finance ministers couldn’t “even agree to disagree” Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, attending his first EU summit, agreed that Greek officials would meet representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF today.

Varoufakis enters the lion’s den

By Mike Peacock
February 11, 2015

Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis holds his speech notes before a vote of confidence at the parliament in Athens

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis enters the lion’s den today, attending his first meeting of euro zone finance ministers where he will spell out his plan to drop his country’s bailout and end austerity.

G20 treads familiar ground

By Mike Peacock
February 10, 2015

OECD Secretary General Gurria casts his shadow on the podium as he speaks during a news conference in the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Istanbul

G20 finance ministers and central bankers meeting in Istanbul will pledge to act decisively on monetary and fiscal policy if needed to combat the risk of  stagnation, according to a draft communique obtained by Reuters last night. As has been customary at these summits, a lot of the discussion implicitly centres on Germany.

Tsipras not for turning

By Mike Peacock
February 9, 2015

Greek Prime Minister Tsipras delivers his first major speech in parliament in Athens

Alexis Tsipras is not for turning, not yet anyway.

Speaking in parliament on Sunday night the new Greek premier said he would not accept an extension to Greece’s current bailout, something the euro zone is urging him to do, and stuck with austerity-ending pledges such as giving free food and electricity to those who need it, reinstating civil servants who had been fired as part of bailout conditions and raising the minimum wage. Privatisations have already been halted.

Another reverse for Greece with Berlin yet to come

By Mike Peacock
February 5, 2015

Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis answers journlists questions at restaurant in Frankfurt

Last night, after Greece’s new Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis met Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank cancelled its acceptance of Greek bonds in return for funding, shifting the burden onto Greece’s central bank to finance its lenders, the latest reverse for the country’s new government.

Is a one-way bet on the dollar rising still such a safe bet?

February 4, 2015

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

Borrowing in dollars is like playing “Russian roulette”, India’s central bank chief Raghuran Rajan said on Bloomberg TV this week.

EU ponders another round of Russia sanctions

By Mike Peacock
January 29, 2015

Ukrainian servicemen sit atop an armored personnel carrier as they patrol Orekhovo village in Luhansk

EU foreign ministers hold an extraordinary meeting today after their leaders have asked them to consider possible new sanctions on Russia. A final decision to impose them is likely to be left to their bosses who meet in next month and again in March.

Russia invites new sanctions

By Mike Peacock
January 28, 2015

Ukrainian servicemen stand guard on a street near the burning building after a shelling by pro-Russian rebels of a residential sector in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine

Ukrainian separatists said they had pushed government troops out of two districts on the outskirts of their main stronghold Donetsk and their aim was to expand control to the entire eastern region.

Game on in Greece

By Mike Peacock
January 26, 2015

The head of radical leftist Syriza party Tsipras waves to supporters after winning the elections in Athens

Syriza has fallen tantalisingly short of an overall majority, winning 149 of 300 Greek parliamentary seats and taking 36.3 percent of the vote, 8.5 points ahead of the New Democracy party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in what amounts to a decisive rejection of austerity.

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.