What you may have missed in the business news:
1. Germany has a government. Sort of.
I realise that this sounds like a fairly small piece of specific national news.
Germany is the debtor nation of the Eurozone (that is – she’s the one owed money by the rest of the Eurozone nations). And as history has shown, the debtor nations make the rules.
Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) came first in the last election, but (unfortunately) 5 seats shy of a majority in the German Bundestag: meaning that it has to form a coalition government with one of the other parties.
Sadly, the CDU’s last coalition partner didn’t make it back into the Bundestag. And its coalition partner before that (the Social Democratic Party, or SPD) did so badly in the election that followed the “Grand CDU-SPD Coalition” that they’ve been extremely reluctant to join hands with Angela. Clearly – the Germans take a dim view of anyone that’s been dominated by the Merkel.
Anyway, the SPD has been persuaded back into the grand coalition fold: an agreement has been reached, which now needs to be voted on by the SPD’s 470,000 party members.
The agreement includes foolishness like minimum wage hikes and lowering the retirement age.
2. Ukraine stopped sitting on the fence
The Ukraine has been busily negotiating with the EU and being generally blackmailed by Russia for a while now.
The EU would like Ukraine to join it – with the first step being trade treaties and an agreement from the Ukraine to be less corrupt and more democratic. This would upset Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich; but would please the Ukrainians that are protesting in the streets and demanding his resignation.
Russia, on the other hand, wants Ukraine to join Mr Putin’s Eurasian Union – currently composed of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Russia is offering cheap gas and oil, and some loans, and ixnay on the democratic transparency, as part of the deal.
At the Vilnius summit where the EU trade pact was meant to be signed, Mr Yanukovich decided not to sign. There is now rioting in the streets of Kiev.
3. The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin
Bitcoin is now trading at over $1,000. If you missed it, I refer you to almost every post I wrote last week: