Here is David Chaston's 90 seconds at 9 am summary of overnight financial news in association with Bank of New Zealand, including news that the pressure is piling on Greece.
With the Germans the dominant influence in the EU and France seemingly in control of the IMF, Greece is fighting for its economic sovereignty today. France and Germany have put a full-court press on Athens in a bid to have it give up its right to control its budget - the IMF and EU seem to want it to cede that power to Brussels - something that will be sending shivers through other EU nations. It is a move that is concentrating minds. The Greeks are resisting of course, and this brinkmanship makes the return of the drachma and a Greek exit from the euro a much more likely prospect. Not only are the Greeks resisting the EU and IMF, they are in fierce negotiations with their bondholders. It's an ugly time to be a Greek politician - and they probably have little support from their voters now as well. They have until March 20 when a very big bond payment is due.
We start the week off here on a brighter basis - the surprisingly strong December trade surplus is helping push the currency higher and we open today at 82.4 US cents.
And in the US, the prospects are brighter too as employers probably added to payrolls there in January in the expectation that the US will avoid fallout from Europe.
International oil is still below US$100 / barrel, despite the escalating tensions around the Iranian nuclear sanctions. Iran is fast-tracking a cut-off of supply to Europe and raising the rhetoric over its ability to shut the Gulf of Hormuz, but markets aren't pricing in any meaningful fallout. Europe is protected by fast recovering Libyian production, and Iran is having trouble finding alternative markets in Asia, the place they thought would cover them.
With Prime Minister Key in Australia, the Aussies are starting to understand the opportunities that may open up for them in what they call "the sale of the century" - the floating of the SOEs here. It is a program than is gathering international investor attention - and even though the SOE sale will be targeted at Kiwis, there will be spin-offs for the Government as it finds investors for its big bond-sale program.
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