The most common question I get asked in my position as a currency strategist is; "why is the euro so strong?" Normally there are some rather more colourful turns of phrase included within that question, mainly as a result of the person losing money by betting against the single currency; a common occurrence in recent months.
The last week has brought news of dangerously low inflation in Germany, and we learnt that German retail sales had plunged in September, Eurozone unemployment edged up by 0.2% to 12.2%, and the Consumer Price Index across the Eurozone is estimated to have risen only 0.7% in the last year.
I was honoured recently to receive the Sheila McKechnie award for the campaigning work I've done with the Robin Hood Tax. Ironically, at exactly the same moment, dozens of financial journalists were frantically typing articles about how the tax was dead in Europe following a European announcement it could be illegal. ..
It is the task of a bold and constructive German foreign policy to play a leading role in the EU and in that Zwischeneuropa, the "Europe in-between", from the Baltic to the Black Sea; but also to influence the peace efforts in what has become the "Wild East" - the Orient. Maybe it is going too far to speak of a German pacifistic Sleeping Beauty slumber.
The markets hope that after the elections Merkel will be more amenable in areas such as the banking union and additional bailouts for distressed Eurozone countries. Alas, the Germans will not change their stance very much.
"People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, or before an election," said Otto von Bismarck. Replacing the word "lie" with "stall" and this captures perfectly the effect the forthcoming federal election in Germany has had on policymaking towards the beleaguered southern states of the Eurozone.
Few politicians have cast such a long shadow over a country, across an extended period of time, as Silvo Berlusconi. Palpable relief greeted the politician and media tycoon's resignation as Italian PM in November 2011, against a backdrop of severe doubt regarding his commitment to implementing economic reforms necessary to tackle the nation's debt crisis.
In central and eastern Europe political and economic distress is on the increase. Growth expectations are adjusted downwards in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania and Bulgaria where corruption, authoritarian tendencies, and outright political crises are rife.
Evidence seems to be mounting that global economic activity seems finally to be accelerating, maybe even creating a more classically rapid recovery, as opposed to the rather anaemic variety we have so far enjoyed.
Quietly and methodically, Germany has been recovering the bodies of hundreds of thousands of its soldiers who fell on its Eastern Front in the bloodie...
On the beaches, the picture is worse. Dimitri has run a popular local beach situated in one of the island's liveliest towns for over twenty years. This year, however, he has suffered under the tight grip of the government.
A realistic, integrated and equitable adjustment program needs to be put in place for the whole Eurozone. This program must put the interests of Eurozone's citizens ahead of those of its banks and politicians.
My guess is that USD bulls will ultimately be proved correct and make money, as yields continue to march higher - provided these traders haven't already been carted out on a stretcher, as volatility drags their positions below whatever career stop-loss level their employer cares to impose.
It is clear that the SNP's version of independence is not full independence and that could be detrimental to Scotland. The report supported by the Scottish government to retain the same welfare set-up with the UK has been the latest report to exemplify this point.
Last week I wrote that the US economy was in a sweet spot for the markets, with a Goldilocks, 'not too hot, not too cold' type recovery that won't cause the Fed to tighten, but will provide enough cheer to keep risk 'on'.
Why all the fuss about Europe when UKIP's rise isn't because of an over-bearing Europe, but because of globalisation? No one seems to have noticed that UKIP is not an isolated phenomenon. Right-wing, isolationist political parties are on the rise throughout Europe and elsewhere.