China shares slump, central banks in Europe get their turn in the limelight and all the Greece you can handle. Here are some of the things that people are talking about in markets today.
Chinese stocks fall
Chinese stock markets are heading for their steepest weekly fall since 2009, with the Shanghai composite index tumbling 3.7 percent overnight, taking its declines for the week to 7.4 percent. David Woo, head of global rates and currencies research at Bank of America, is warning that Chinese stocks are the world's largest bubble since the 1990's dot-com boom and that its eventual collapse will have consequences for markets around the world.
European central banks
The Norwegian central bank cut interest rates to a record low this morning and warned that it may ease rates further. Meanwhile in Zurich, the Swiss National Bank kept its deposit rate also at record low levels and said that it stood ready to take further action to reduce the impact of the overvalued franc. In Frankfurt, the European Central Bank announced the result of its latest targeted longer term refinancing operation. Analysts were expecting €75 billion to be allotted and it came in very close to that, with the operation drawing €73.8 billion.
In a speech to the German parliament, Chancellor Angela Merkel said a deal with Greece was still possible. She did not have any new concessions to offer Greece, insisting that the Syriza-led administration in Athens follow through on the commitments it made on February 20. It seems the ball is still very much in Greece's court.
Finance ministers of euro area member states meet in Luxembourg this afternoon local time. Expectations for progress on Greece are very low, with Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis saying that agreement can only be reached at heads of state level. For their part, finance ministers from other euro area member states have been busy making contingency plans for a Greek default or ejection from the common currency. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. ET and is not expected to last long.
U.K. retail sales, U.S. data
United Kingdom retail sales excluding auto fuel increased 0.2 percent in May from the previous month, well ahead of analyst expectations of a 0.2 percent decline. The pound climbed to a seven-month high against the dollar following the number. In the U.S., CPI is due out at 8.30 a.m. ET with analysts expecting a return to growth following last month's minus 0.2 percent print.
What we've been reading
Here’s what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- India's stock market loses $23 billion - due to a disappointing weather forecast.
- Varoufakis v Schaeuble - this time it's personal.
- Barney Frank, long the banker's nemesis, joins the board of a bank.
- Where is Africa's middle class?
- Today is the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo. Here's why it shows Britain needs more Europe.
- Has the West got Russia all wrong?
- A Greek expat writes beautifully about how hard it is to be a Greek expat at the moment.