Parity back on the agenda
Euromonitor, a market research firm, reports that champagne sales in Greece rose by 84% over the last two years. Wow! But wait, even after the increase that means just a glass each for every unemployed Greek resident. Or a case for every last-chance bailout meeting since January.
There will be another one today as EU leaders gather for a second summit. It is clear how seriously they are taking it: Euroland finance ministers will be sacrificing their weekend for a meeting on Saturday and if a deal is struck then there is talk of parliamentary sessions in Athens and Berlin on Sunday to sign off the deal. As they invariably say on these occasions, time is running out for Greece.
Some say it is running out for the euro too. After it rebounded from an 11-year low against the US dollar in mid-March the topic of euro/dollar parity rather disappeared from the agenda but it's back on it again now, with a couple of large banks predicting that quantitative easing by the European Central Bank will take the euro lower, whatever the outcome of the Greek situation.
The first shall be last
In a reversal of Wednesday's moves the NZ dollar was the biggest loser, falling by more than a cent and a half. Sterling and the Canadian dollar took first place, strengthening by an average of 0.3% - half a Cable cent - against the other dozen most actively-traded currencies.
As before, there were no UK or Canadian economic data to justify the rise of the pound or the Loonie. If anything, the CBI's distributive trades survey should have dented the pound with its drop from 51 to 29. Equally there were no NZ figures to hurt the Kiwi. In fact the trade surplus announced this morning was much better than expected.
Sterling picked up half a US cent, two thirds of a euro cent and four fifths of a Swiss cent. The Australian dollar fared almost as badly as the Kiwi, losing a cent and a quarter.
The 11.9th hour
The discussions in Brussels today and tomorrow are said to be the last chance for Greece to reach an agreement with its creditors. Although recent history suggests that is an exaggeration, the outcome of Saturday's meeting will dictate where the euro kicks off on Monday morning.
There are few data to get in the way today. Japanese inflation was reported earlier to have slowed to 0.3% despite household spending rising by an annual 4.8%. French consumer confidence rose by a point to 94 and Italian consumer confidence is expected to be steady. Other figures cover Sweden's trade surplus and retail sales and US consumer confidence. This afternoon Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, will be speaking at the Inclusive Capital conference.
With the possible exception of Mr Carney, investors will not care about any of the above. All eyes will be on Brussels. Have an interesting weekend.