What do Greece and an unemployed homeowner in Arizona have in common? They are both bankrupt with no hope of ever being able to pay back what they owe. As I wrote this, I realised it sounded as though I were making a joke (and a bad one at that). The reality is, unfortunately, not funny in any sense, but actually far more worrying.
Overall, however, given the combination of the ECB's unwillingness to address financial market fragmentation and the current austerity drive in most euro zone countries, we continue to expect a continuation of the economic crisis in the remainder of the year.
Our latest global forecast for the world economy shows prospects for steady gains in global economic growth throughout 2013 fading, amid signs that the recession in the euro zone is worse than expected and that China's recovery has stumbled.
Another week, another reminder that keeping the Euro alive and well, (a generous term), is all just a game of politics.
We need to realise that it's culture --again, habits, values and behaviors -- that ultimately drives economic prosperity. And culture starts at the grassroots. He was dour and dull, but maybe it's time to see Calvin Coolidge as cool.
The euro zone needs German inflation to rise, so as to address the imbalances in competitiveness between member states without condemning much of the currency union to semi-permanent slump and unsustainable indebtedness.
The European Parliament's vote this week against delaying the release of some 900 million carbon allowances (known as the 'back-loading' proposal) is disappointing on several grounds.
As we approach the annual spring meetings of the World Bank and IMF this weekend in Washington, there remains significant uncertainty around the globe on economic growth and the soundness of our financial system.
The decision on April 5 by Portugal's Constitutional Court to strike down a number of savings measures contained in the government's 2013 budget has increased the chances that Portugal will need a second bail-out and shortened the odds on an early election.
The Euromyth has fuelled journalists for many years. Some of the stories have been ludicrous, some have been genuinely funny. Plenty have been disingenuous.
Why is it that I always seem to have to write these pieces just before some binary event or other, usually of Eurozone origin, meaning that by Tuesday (in this case), I could look extremely foolish?! Oh well here goes: my feeling is that the Cypriot crisis will fade from memory over the next few weeks and won't lead to wider Eurozone contagion. There - I've said it.
By threatening to sour Russian-EU relations and even propel an EU member state into the arms of Moscow, the currency union is reviving tensions between old antagonists.
Broadly, the economic pattern of 2012 will continue. Economies on Europe's periphery will remain weak, whereas core economies should show some resilience.
Yesterday a man decided that the pound's value against the euro and the dollar was 'just about right'. As a result, the pound stopped weakening against the euro and the dollar, as it has been doing so for several months. I was disappointed. I get paid in euros so I benefit from the pound being weak.
Luxembourg's Prime Minster is warning that Europe's demons of war may be coming back. It's a small country, but Jean-Claude Juncker has a big voice. Until January, he was President of the Eurogroup that manages political aspects of the single currency. Juncker is worried about the disintegration of the Euro and the bad blood growing between north and south (resentful Germans bailing out irate Greeks and so forth).
It makes no sense to vote on a budget for the next seven years when the context is likely to have changed dramatically. Even the Soviet Union only planned five years ahead. Rather than being tied down to a seven year austerity budget, there should be a binding review around 2015 which would allow the next democratically elected European Parliament to have its say.