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More up and downs for the euro zone

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - 02:04

The euro sank to a 12 year low against the dollar as the ECB's bond-buying programme began to have an impact. It won't help Greece which continues to struggle with deflation. And as Grace Pascoe reports there's another mixed bag of economic data from the euro zone.

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Greece remains dogged by deflation. Cuts in wages and pensions, combined with a deep recession, have forced prices down for the past two years. Latest figures show a slight improvement - but in February prices were still 2.2 percent lower than the previous year. The ECB's bond-buying programme should help many in the euro zone prevent deflation. But no such luck for Greece, which, says Commerzbank's Peter Dixon, has been cast adrift. SOUNDBITE (English) PETER DIXON, GLOBAL FINANCIAL ECONOMIST, COMMERZBANK, SAYING: "Greece has got a major problem and I think it is no longer about deflation in Greece, it is really about can the banking system get its hands on the funds required to remain liquid insolvent. And cutting Greece off from the QE programme basically makes that task more difficult." It's just a day old but QE is having an impact, pushing the euro to a 12 year low against the dollar. It should also be filtering through to the main economies too. Spain's retail sales were already on the up - and they've just reported a sixth monthly rise But there are still worries about other big economies. SOUNDBITE (English) PETER DIXON, GLOBAL FINANCIAL ECONOMIST, COMMERZBANK, SAYING: "The Italian economy continues to struggle very badly. Over the course of the last 15 years it has been one of the worst performers across the whole world. And nothing which has happened in the course of the last year or two with regards to reforms give me any real hope that the situation is about to change. So I think Italy will continue to be a laggard, certainly in growth terms, within the euro zone. It is not doing an awful lot to reduce its huge debt burden. So it does remain the elephant in the room." France is a problem too. EU finance ministers have just given Paris two more years to cut its budget deficit to within their limits They say they recognise help is needed across the region. And to prove it they've just agreed details of a new investment plan. The 315 billion euro injection won't revive everyone. But it could help some of those desperate for a growth fix.

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More up and downs for the euro zone

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 - 02:04