Inspiration needed

Fed feeds fear
Munich's Oktoberfest opened last weekend. It's known in the trade as seasonal adjustment. Another German institution has been equally creative. The software in Volkswagen cars seasonally adjusts itself, reducing toxic emissions only when being tested. The news will not have done any favours to the euro.

Then again, nothing has done any favours to the euro since Friday morning. It was the weakest performer among the major currencies, losing four fifths of a cent to sterling and dropping one US cent. The euro's main problem was a suggestion that there could be an expansion or extension of the European Central Bank's programme of money-printing quantitative easing.

That fear is, to an extent, the result of the US Federal Reserve's decision last week to keep interest rates close to zero (in a 0%-0.25% target band) and the reasons it gave for doing so. As investors view it, if the Fed is worried that slowing economic growth in emerging markets could create wider problems, then they should be worried too. There were no economic data on Friday to nourish that concern but there were none to counteract it either.

Tsipras rides again
Alexis Tsipras's Syriza party has won the most seats in a Greek general election for the second time this year. As in January, Syriza did not win the 151 seats necessary for an overall majority so Mr Tsipras is expected to form a coalition almost identical to the structure of his last government.

Because the Greek election result was in line with opinion pollsters' predictions it has had minimal effect on the euro. Anyway, the media focus in Euroland at the moment is on migrants, not economics. Journalists do not have the time to explore the irony of a government being elected twice, in eight months, on two mutually contradictory platforms.

The only euro zone ecostats on Friday were for July's current account, which remained in healthy surplus. Today's data are hardly any more plentiful, with German producer prices and current account figures from Greece, Spain and Portugal.

Slow start
The agenda is not an obvious recipe for excitement in financial markets. In the absence of any unscheduled drama it should make for a quiet start to the week.

Overnight announcements showed consumer confidence in New Zealand falling seven points to 106, its lowest level in three years. Rightmove's index of asking prices for UK residential properties rose by 0.9%, neutralising the previous month's decline and leaving prices 6.4% higher on the year. German producer prices went down by -0.5% in August.

The data from North America cover Canadian wholesale sales and US existing home sales. Tonight brings the government index of Australian house prices. There are speeches this afternoon by Dennis Lockhart, the president of the Atlanta Fed and a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, and Stephen Poloz, Mark Carney's successor as governor of the Bank of Canada. Those speeches offer the only real hope of inspiration today.