George Osborne sounds alarm over Greek crisis – live updates

UK chancellor has warned that one misstep in the Greek debt negotiations could return Europe to the ‘perilous state’ of 2011 and 2012

More gloom on Greece. Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, has just warned that there is “no expectation” of a solution to the Greek situation soon.

Schaeuble says all quiet on the Greek front

Nice to see Schaeuble being conciliatory and uncontroversial

Another line from Osborne:

George Osborne also told reporters in Washington that the UK would not be immune from the problems caused by a worsening in the Greek crisis.

European stock markets remains deep in the red this afternoon, with Germany’s DAX down 2% and the FTSE 100 off 0.9%, or 60 points.

Arnaud Masset, market analyst at Swissquote, says Greece is to blame:

Investors are worried that Greece may default after rumors spread that Greece asked to delay its next debt payment to the IMF.

Breaking: George Osborne has warned that the deadlock over Greece’s bailout programme could trigger a repeat of the crisis which gripped the eurozone in 2011 and 2012.

Speaking in Washington, at the IMF/G20 Spring Meeting, the UK chancellor declared that the mood is much more gloomy than last year, adding that one “misstep” by either side could cause calamity.

George Osborne: “Situation in Greece is most worrying for global economy. Discussions have pervaded every meeting. Mood notably more gloomy”

The Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates the City, says it is monitoring the effect of the Bloomberg crash.

A spokesman says:

“We are aware of the issue and are monitoring the impact on our firms.”

I just chatted with Steve Collins, global head of dealing at asset management firm London & Capital, about the Bloomberg crash.

He says the outage was the worst he’s seen in the City in over a decade.

“I haven’t seen it go down like this for ten or fifteen years. Bloomberg is usually the one stable thing; it’s the thing that everyone can’t live without.”

“Big banks will pump thousands of orders across Bloomberg, so the outage had quite an effect on the market.”

Stop trading!

“It was annoying that we lost the facility to trade bonds across the Bloomberg platform. Price discovery took longer, as we had to phone Deutsche Bank and Bank of America and say “make me an offer”.”

A SPILLED CAN of coke is apparently to blame for Bloomberg outage

Related: UK delays £3bn debt sale after Bloomberg terminals crash worldwide

It’s business as usual at the Bank of England despite the Bloomberg outage:

Back in the financial markets, a chunky selloff is breaking out across the main European bourses.

Germany’s DAX has slipped by over 1.7%, while Spain’s IBEX shed 2%. The FTSE 100 of leading blue-chip shares has also been hit, down 0.6%.

* Spain, Italy 10-year bond yields rise 13 bps to 1.48 and 1.50 percent, respectively – Tradeweb

Don’t miss economic editor Larry Elliott’s analysis on the jobs data:

The Bloomberg system crash I mentioned earlier has forced the UK’s debt management agency to suspend a £3bn debt sale. Here’s the full story.

UK halts £3bn debt sale after Bloomberg terminals crash worldwide

My colleague Katie Allen writes:

Britain’s unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level since 2008 but earnings growth has slowed, according to the final official labour market figures to be published before the election.

The Office for National Statistics said the jobless rate dropped to 5.6% in the three months to February, down from 5.8% in the previous three months. That was the lowest rate since the onset of the financial crisis in July 2008….

The CBI, which represents British firms, is also notably cool about raising wages faster.

Neil Carberry, CBI Director for Employment and Skills argues that firms need to become more productive first:

“It’s great to see 248,000 more people in work, the fastest rise in employment in just under a year – thanks to our flexible jobs market.

“With real wage growth rising people have a little more money in their pockets. But we need to see a recovery in productivity before wages can rise faster.”

Britain’s bosses aren’t keen to open up their wallets, it appears.

James Sproule, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, argues that:

“While many people would like to see greater pay increases, wages are now rising in line with historic productivity growth, making them sustainable in the long term and allowing UK companies to remain competitive.”

Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte, predicts that workers may finally see larger pay rises soon:

“Despite these buoyant job numbers earnings growth has drifted up only slowly from last year’s lows. But with skills shortages emerging, and the jobless rate set to fall further, we see earnings growth accelerating through this year and next.”

John Hawksworth, PwC’s chief economist, points out that while employment has grown rapidly since 2010, wage growth has not. That’s not a coincidence either:

“Looking back over the past five years, average real earnings are around 4.4% lower, but employment has risen by around 6.5% over the same period. In this way, the pain of recession has been spread more widely than in past downturns in the early 1980s and early 1990s, with more jobs being created but at lower average rates of pay.”

The pound has jumped almost a cent against the US dollar to a four week high of $ 1.5028 on the back of the jobs data.

Here’s Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, responding to today’s Labour Market Statistics:

“Today’s fall in overall unemployment is welcome, but with working people earning on average £1,600 less a year since 2010 and the biggest fall in wages over a parliament since 1874, it’s clear the Tory plan is failing.

“Labour has a better plan to reward hard work, share prosperity and build a better Britain. A Labour government will raise the minimum wage to more than £8 an hour by October 2019 and give tax rebates to firms who pay a Living Wage. We will protect the tax credits that millions of families rely on, get at least 200,000 homes a year built by 2020, extend free childcare from 15 to 25 hours for working parents of three and four-year-olds and guarantee apprenticeships for everyone who gets the grades.”

This chart confirms that the unemployment rate is now at its lowest since July 2008, the quarter before the financial crisis erupted.

At 5.6%, Britain’s unemployment rate is almost as low as America’s (which hit 5.5% in February).

And it’s half the rate in the eurozone, where 11.3% of adults are out of work. Across the whole EU, the rate is 9.8%.

Probably one of the best charts for Coalition: jobless record detached from Europe now as good as US

Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, questions the quality of the jobs being created in the UK today:

“Most of these new jobs are mainly low-skilled, low-paid and zero hours…..

“Most workers have seen little or no evidence of any recovery in living standards due to the Tories not promoting real economic growth based on investment and productivity gains.”

The prime minister tweets that today’s employment report shows his economic plan is delivering:

More strong jobs figures show our plan is working – helping put Britain back to work:

You can see the jobs report yourself, here on the ONS website:

UK Labour Market, April 2015

Unemployment has continued to fall and a record 31 million people are in work, the last jobless figures before the general election have shown.

Economists are welcoming the news that Britain’s jobless rate has fallen to 5.6%, the lowest since the run-up to the financial crisis.

But there is some concern that wage growth isn’t accelerating.

More good jobs figures – employment up nearly 250k in three months to record 73.4% of workforce; unemployment rate down to 5.6%.

Pay still relatively subdued – 1.7% including bonuses, 1.8% ex bonuses, though well ahead of inflation.

Regular pay growth at 1.8%, unemployment down, employment rate at record high – strong set of labour market stats.

Employment growth driven by full time employee positions. Labour market composition shifting towards that over last year.

UK wages growth in February alone fell to 1.3% so after 1.4% (Jan) and 2.4% (Dec) there is sadly a clear slowing evident #GBP

With inflation at zero, today’s data also shows that real wages continued to rise in the three months to February, after years of falling real pay.

For Dec-Feb 2015 wages including bonuses up 1.7% on a yr earlier. Wages excl bonuses up 1.8%

The UK unemployment rate has fallen to 5.6%, its lowest level since July 2008.

And the number of people in employment has risen by almost a quarter of a million in the December-February quarter, to the highest rate on record. A pre-election boost to the Conservatives?

#Employment rate 73.4% for Dec-Feb 2015, highest figure on record

Heads-up: it’s nearly time for the latest UK unemployment data to be released.

Grexit talk in the analyst notes rising. Worth remembering though that faced with reality of a bank run, Greek govt compromised last time.

The Greek stock market is also calm, up 0.7% in early trading.

Fortunately my Reuters terminal is working perfectly this morning (thanks guys), so we can see that Greek bonds are trading at worryingly high levels.

The two-year Greek bond is yielding 27.2%, broadly unchanged today, suggesting a high risk of default.


The technical problems at Bloomberg are a major problem for City types. There are more than 300,000 terminals around the globe, used for both news and trading.

CNBC has a good early take:

Bloomberg’s trading terminal experienced an outage on Friday morning, with some users saying they were unable to perform their usual trading activity.

The company confirmed to CNBC that its terminal was currently unavailable worldwide, with traders from the U.K. and Singapore complaining on Twitter that they had been affected by the issue.

Bloomberg terminals hit by global outage; "could well" affect trading volumes:

Alarm is sweeping the City this morning as traders and analysts realise that their Bloomberg terminals have crashed.

It looks like a serious outage:

Bloomberg helpdesk not answering phones

Bloomberg problems argggghhh

Come on @yanisvaroufakis and @tsipras_eu ! With Bloomberg down, this is your chance to default and exit the EMU without any repercussions.

The Greek crisis is also helping to drive money into German government debt.

The yield (or interest rate) on 10-year bonds has fallen even closer to 0.0%. That means Berlin could effectively borrow for almost nothing and repay the money in 2025.

German 10Y yields drop to 0.076%, record low – growing concerns over Greek debt crisis

Greece’s Kathimerini newspaper is also gloomy, suggesting that a deal might not come before mid-May.

If so, we can scrap hopes of a breakthrough at the April 24th eurogroup meeting

With negotiations between Greece and its creditors effectively deadlocked, a potential deal that could unlock crucially needed funding appeared more distant than ever on Thursday with doubts appearing about whether an agreement can be reached in time for a Eurogroup planned for May 11, well after the next scheduled eurozone finance ministers’ summit in Riga next Friday, which had been the original deadline.

Darren Courtney-Cook, head of trading at Central Markets Investment Management, confirms that the Greek crisis is lingering over the City:

“I think the Greece situation will be resolved but we’ve had a massive up-turn on the stock markets so far this year, and the underlying concerns are causing some people to take a bit of money off the table.”

European markets have opened mixed, with Germany’s DAX extending yesterday’s falls but the FTSE 100 rising a little:

Investors are underplaying the risk posed by Greece, according to Chris Weston of financial spread betting firm IG this morning:

The Greek government have a mandate to stay in the European Monetary Union and they simply can’t leave. However a view from certain parts of the market is [Greece’s plans] to distance themselves from the rest of Europe and to actually be forced out.

Markets still believe Greece will stay within the union in some form, but the risks are growing and a full ‘Grexit’ won’t be pleasant. The market is not prepared at all for this.

Citi: "investors continue to bank on last minute Greek solution. This complacency likely understates tail risk for EUR"

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

It looks like another day dominated by the Greek debt crisis, which ratcheted up another notch yesterday when the IMF effectively sunk the idea that Athens could be granted a payment delay.

Related: Greece pushed a step closer to Grexit after IMF snub

“We will compromise, we will compromise and we will compromise in order to come to a speedy agreement, but we are not going to be compromised.”

Toying with Grexit, or amputating Greece, is profoundly anti-European. Anybody who says they know what will happen if Greece is pushed out of the euro is deluded…..

Our only rational pro-European response is to spend every waking hour… trying to reach an honourable agreement.”

#UK daybook: Euro Area Inflation, U.K. Unemployment

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