A call to arms

By Mike Peacock
June 19, 2014

The prospect of U.S. and Iranian intervention in Iraq looms larger.

Baghdad has asked the United States for air support to counter Sunni militants who have seized major cities in a lightning advance that has routed the Shi’ite-led government army. And Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has signalled that Tehran was prepared to intervene to protect Iraq’s great Shi’ite shrines.

Common cause for Washington and Tehran in Iraq?

By Mike Peacock
June 16, 2014

Iraq is going up in flames and there appears to be no question of the West putting boots back on the ground in contrast to 2003 when the United States and Britain invaded to topple Saddam Hussein and set in train a decade of chaos that has now exploded again.

The Fed’s taper and the question of the “tag-along” $5 billion

June 12, 2014

By Ann Saphir

Federal Reserve policymakers are expected next week to trim their monthly purchases of bonds by another $10 billion, putting them on track to end the massive program by October or December. So – which will it be, October or December? Some Fed officials are pushing for an answer, and soon.

Euro zone inflation data to set seal on ECB action

By Mike Peacock
June 3, 2014

Euro zone inflation – due at 0900 GMT – is forecast to hold at a paltry 0.7 percent in May, in what European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has labelled the danger zone below 1.0 percent for the eighth successive month.

U.S. growth back in bloom: most accurate Q1 GDP forecasters

May 30, 2014

PMost are convinced, including Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, that the U.S. economy has already warmed up significantly from a growth deep freeze at the start of the year.

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.