Greek talks fail again
"Time is running out for Greece"
The earliest documented mention of the warning that Time is Running Out for Greece was four months ago on 17 February, just after the EU delivered an "ultimatum" to Athens. No wonder, then, that investors are unperturbed by the breakdown of yet more negotiations in Brussels yesterday.
Athens sent a delegation to the EC on Sunday to carry on the discussion about an extension of Greece's exiting bailout, which expires at the end of June. The talks lasted all of 45 minutes, apparently foundering on Greece's continued demand for a rescheduling of its debt. Following the meeting the commission said "some progress was made" and the Greek prime minister hinted that a compromise is within reach.
When the FX market opened in the Far East this morning the reaction was negligible, with the euro unchanged on average from Friday's starting levels. It is down by half a cent against sterling and by a dozen ticks against the US dollar and the yen. Moves of such modest magnitude suggest that investors are not convinced the next "deadline" - Thursday's Eurogroup meeting - will be any more pivotal than those that have already come and gone.
Investors found little to excite them on Friday. There were no top-drawer ecostats to provide guidance, no central bankers on the podium and no developments on the Athens front.
The result was a tedious day, with activity petering out after the university of Michigan released its provisional consumer sentiment index reading. It was actually a fairly good figure, up by four points on the month at 94.6. However, true to recent form, investors did not see it as a reason to buy the US dollar. In fact the dollar weakened on the news, though lost only a third of a cent on the day to sterling.
Friday's top performer was the erratic Norwegian krone which, for the second time in a week, went from zero to hero over the space of 24 hours. The commodity dollars brought up the rear with the Aussie and the Loonie losing a cent to sterling and the Kiwi down by a cent and a half in last place.
Although there are some potentially-influential data and events on this week's agenda, only one of them takes place today. At two-o'clock this afternoon the European Central Bank president will face the European Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.
Mario Draghi will deliver a prepared speech to the committee and answer members' questions. It is fairly easy to guess what they will be asking about. Jens Weidmann, the president of the German central bank will also be taking to the podium this morning.
The ecostats on today's list are quite low-profile. In Europe Switzerland reports on retail sales and producer prices, Sweden on unemployment, Italy on inflation and Euroland on the balance of trade. Canadian manufacturing shipments come after lunch, along with US industrial production.