December 9th, 2011
10:24 AM GMT
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Editor's note: The European Council has since sent out a revised release, and added this line to the bottom: “The Heads of State or Government of Bulgaria, Czech  Republic, Denmark, Hungary,  Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania  and Sweden indicated the possibility to take part in this process after consulting their Parliaments where appropriate.”

According to CNN's Jim Boulden: The line is weak and a bit of "eurospeak," but it does look like the continental leaders have decided to start to circle the wagons a little bit after some much needed sleep.

Brussels (CNN) – In this era of clumping countries together with catchy acronyms, we now have the chance to coin a phrase for the EU countries not participating in the new fiscal compact.

It’s no surprise that Hungary, Sweden and the UK are out. Add to that the Czech Republic and we have a mishmash of possibilities.

I present to you the CzHuUKS.

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December 9th, 2011
12:56 AM GMT
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(CNN) - In the words of the chief executive and co-chief investment officer of Pimco, Mohamed El Erian: "This is Europe's moment of truth. For the sake of the region and that of the global economy, its leaders must come up with a solution at a time when, to use Nicolas Sarkozy's phrase, `the euro needs to be refounded’.”

Lest we forget, the problems of the eurozone have developed from a sovereign debt crisis, into a liquidity and – dare I say it – a solvency crisis. It has created all the ingredients for a banking meltdown that could cripple global growth.

So what are the chances of a final solution in Brussels this week? Pretty weak, I would say.
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December 8th, 2011
08:13 PM GMT
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Abu Dhabi (CNN) - There is a milestone about to be set which is going largely unnoticed around the world. Oil will average more than $100 a barrel for an entire year for the first time.

Here in the Persian Gulf states, they call it three digit oil. Simply put, that is a number above $100.

Due to advancements in healthcare and people generally living longer, they say 60 years old is the new 40, meaning we are more youthful in age in the 21st century.

Does this apply to the oil market where $100 a barrel is the new $80 - not too hot, not too cold but just right for oil producing countries and consuming nations alike?

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Filed under: AsiaBusinessChinaEnergyEuropean UnionOil


December 8th, 2011
02:39 PM GMT
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(CNN) – It has taken more than 10 years but Project Euro is finally moving to its decision-making moment.

The core issue is how far the members of the eurozone are prepared now to move towards fiscal and economic union? How much budgetary sovereignty will they hand over to Brussels? Will they accept fines, sanctions, oversight and authority from the eurocrats?

For German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy this is crunch time. They want this done by treaty change so that countries have to make a decision.

European Commission President Herman Van Rompuy's suggestion that the necessary changes could be introduced using an administrative protocol has been rejected (rightly in my view). Whatever happens needs to be clear beyond doubt. Europe has fudged and blustered for too long.

The biggest thorn at this meeting will be how far the non-euro countries (especially the UK) are prepared to agree full treaty changes. If the 17 in the euro are forced to do a side deal shutting out the rest, then a “them-and-us Europe” will have arrived. It won't be a happy time for anyone.

In Europe there is always a fudge to be made, a deal to be done, a can to be kicked, some smoke to be blown. That would be a terrible mistake this time. To their credit, Merkel and Sarkozy have been clear - back the plan or face catastrophe. It is a simple as that.

The unfortunate point, often overlooked, is that the eurozone countries really have little choice. The euro doesn't work as currently constituted (it never has). They either change it or the project will collapse.



December 7th, 2011
05:09 AM GMT
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(CNN) - Last week  Olli Rehn, Europe's Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, warned the eurozone was entering a critical phrase to solve its debt crisis, which has deepened since Greece took its first bailout in May 2010. Rehn said the region has "10 days to complete and conclude the crisis response of the European Union."

Quest Means Business has been counting down the 10 days leading to the eurozone summit meeting. Some key moments so far:
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December 6th, 2011
05:26 AM GMT
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Last week  Olli Rehn, Europe's Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, warned the eurozone was entering a critical phrase to solve its debt crisis, which has deepened since Greece took its first bailout in May 2010. Rehn said the region has "10 days to complete and conclude the crisis response of the European Union."

Quest Means Business has been counting down the 10 days leading to the eurozone summit meeting. Some key moments so far:

November 30 – The U.S. Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and other central banks took co-ordinated action to oil the wheels of the world's financial system.

December 1 - We heard the first talk of stronger fiscal union among the 17 nations united under the single currency. Unlike other currencies, the euro members still have separate tax rates, budgets and other fiscal planning.

December 2 - World markets rally, and Europe markets finish their best week of gains since 2008.

December 5 – Italy's new prime minister, Mario Monti, presents a proposal with $41 billion in new taxes and spending cuts for a start of "painful measures" to help the eurozone's third largest economy emerge from its budget crisis.

December 6 – World markets in Asia and Europe awaken to the news that S&P issued an unprecedented downgrade warning to 15 of the eurozone's member nations - including Germany and France, the twin economic titans of euro currency members.

The countdown of Rehn's 10 days continues on Quest Means Business. Join him Monday to Friday, 1900 London time. You can also find him on Twitter.



December 5th, 2011
08:54 PM GMT
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London (CNN) - So Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel have come up with a plan to "save the euro" as the deadline counts down to the Friday summit.

Another plan. But this one is different. For the first time it attempts seriously to tackle the underlying problem and create a "fiscal compact" of better budgetary and management for the eurozone.

Each has got something. Merkel hasn't had to budge on single Eurobonds, Sarkozy has assurances that bond holders won't take further haircuts, which would have hurt French banks further.

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December 5th, 2011
04:29 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – There are a lot of critical meetings scheduled this week in Europe, and Asia is watching.

There's no more talk now of financial decoupling from developed economies. The global economy is tightly interwoven and as Yonghao Pu, chief investment strategist of UBS Asia Pacific, frankly says, "At the moment, we (Asia) are kind of a hostage to what's going on in Europe."

We're seeing the weakness in the global economy force China's hand.

Beijing recently relaxed capital reserve requirements of its major banks after already loosening requirements for some rural banks. This was to make it easier for the banks to make loans and to partially offset the ripple effects of the global economy.  China's latest PMI data have shown manufacturing contracting because of reduced demand. Europe is China's biggest export market. If Europe goes into a recession, Asian exports will certainly suffer a huge dip.
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December 3rd, 2011
04:24 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – We are now well into Olli Rehn’s 10 days to save the euro and the tempo is heating up.

Mario Draghi, the new European Central Bank president, has tantalizingly hinted he will do more to help out provided euro-member countries start the process of economic unification. As he put it, the sequence of events matters. In our language: Don’t put the horse before the cart.

For Europe’s leaders the promise that the ECB will ride to the rescue is sweet music, perhaps even for Germany’s Merkel and the Bundesbank who are demanding a move to fiscal union as the only preferred long-term solution.



December 2nd, 2011
04:34 AM GMT
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London (CNN) – We are now on Day Two of Olli Rehn’s 10 days to save the euro and the tempo is heating up.

Mario Draghi, the new European Central Bank president, has tantalizingly hinted he will do more to help out provided euro-member countries start the process of economic unification. As he put it, the sequence of events matters. In our language: Don’t put the horse before the cart.

For Europe’s leaders the promise that the ECB will ride to the rescue is sweet music, perhaps even for Germany’s Merkel and the Bundesbank who are demanding a move to fiscal union as the only preferred long-term solution.

If we needed any reminder of how messy this is getting, the Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King gave us a hefty dose of reality. He said the euro crises was an “extraordinarily serious and threatening situation” and that Banks should be prepared to withstand the crises. He admitted the Bank of England was preparing contingency plans for what might happen to the euro. (Gulp)

As Day Two comes to an end I paraphrase the famous quote attributed to Otto Von Bismarck: “Saving the Euro is like making sausages. it is best not to watch them being made."



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