Oh, that poor can
A deal of sorts
Researchers have discovered that a third of employees waste three hours a day because they are distracted from the job in hand. The distractions include "chatty colleagues, social media and even the weather". Amazingly, the list doesn't include meetings. Euro zone finance ministers would surely disagree with that omission.
They were over in Brussels yesterday for another of their regular last-chance meetings to sort out the dispute with Greece. It remains to be seen whether or not their time was wasted but at least they claim to have made progress, extracting concessions from Athens on pensions and tax. Greece will fiddle with marginal pension payments and increase some bands of VAT (of which there are several). It will also increase corporation tax on larger companies.
Details of the reforms have yet to be revealed, probably because there aren't any yet. There must also be considerable doubt about the revenue that can plausibly be generated by increasing the tax on companies who already try to avoid paying it. But it was a deal of sorts that saved face on both sides and paved the way to a postponed summit meeting of Euroland leaders on Thursday.
Although the euro enjoyed a mini rally on Monday afternoon, as the first joyful news emerged from Brussels, it has not felt any net benefit from the Eurogroup deal. In fact it and the Swiss franc were the weakest performers among the major currencies, losing half a cent each to sterling.
Broadly, the euro lost ground during the first couple of hours of Monday morning, rallied until teatime, fell during the early evening and moved lower again this morning. Investors might be relieved that there will be no early default by Greece and that the single currency will remain intact but, if they are, they have made a good job of concealing their gratification.
The US dollar put in the best performance, strengthening by a cent and a quarter. It will have received some help from stronger-than-expected existing home sales, which rose by 5.6% in June, but the move appeared to owe more to sentiment than to hard economic data.
With the Euroland summit scheduled for Thursday the euro should be able to stay out of the spotlight for the next 48 hours. Today's top ecostat is US durable goods orders: a good number could help the dollar to build on yesterday's gains.
Provisional purchasing managers' index readings for the Japanese and Chinese manufacturing sector both came in just shy of breakeven earlier today, at 49.9 and 49.6 respectively. The pre-prandial Euroland agenda is littered with more provisional PMIs and there is another one from the States this afternoon.
Other US data cover new home sales, the Richmond Fed's manufacturing index and the capricious durable goods orders. Orders are forecast to have fallen by -0.5% overall but to have risen by 0.6% when the effect of transportation orders is stripped out.