Just over a year ago, markets went into a tailspin. At that time then-Fed Chairman Bernanke made what was supposed to be a benign announcement that gave new meaning to the word "taper." Currencies were thrust into the mayhem well ahead of the statement becoming action, as markets tried to anticipate the pricing effects of this new monetary regime. Tapering is now well underway; how are currencies weathering the storm?
Polls in Germany today show Dr. Angela Merkel will win the next election, a stunning result despite her steady hand in support of bailing out the deadbeat neighbours in Europe. She is a political phenomenon and the most powerful female in the world. She is a brilliant, but modest PhD in Quantum Chemistry, who, appropriately, leads the world's most modest superpower.
Mitt Romney is touring the UK, Israel, and Poland this week -- but not Canada. Why not? Wait, wait, hear me out: This is not the usual "they forgot Canada again!" lament. The political purpose of Romney's foreign tour was to accuse President Barack Obama of straining relationships with key allies. Right now, the bilateral U.S.-Canada relationship is working very well for both countries. A photo-op of a smiling Mitt Romney wearing a hardhat beside a pipeline in Fort McMurray, Alta., would not help.
If no longer -- thank goodness -- the geo-political cockpit of Europe (caught between rival ideologies in the civil war era), Spain cannot be dismissed as a periphery or marginal country out of step with the European project. Spain has all the features of a highly efficient and accountable country, from its ability to produce majority governments from both the respectable left and right, its elaborate system of federalism, and its increased multicultural identity.
The irony of Germany's loss to Italy in the Euro 2012 cup will not be lost on those who have been watching the Eurozone financial crisis play out in recent weeks. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has been steadfast in her opposition to a plan for a common debt issuance program (so-called "euro bonds"), while her electorate have turned up their collective noses to calls for additional handouts to the problem centres like Greece.
Greeks will watch the Euro 2012 soccer match between their country and Russia before going to the polls on June 17. If the Greeks lose, the country will vote to stay in the Eurozone. If they win, all bets are off. But, like football, forecasting is impossible (unless the games are rigged) which means that anything can happen. Here are three possible scenarios.