Next Week’s News Today: A Greek Farce

If I hear the term “tragedy” used in connection with the financial situation in Greece just once more, I am going to scream. It is a farce on just about every possible level.

The negotiation stance has been exaggerated by both sides; it is excessive in the extreme and the solutions are improbable, impossible and impractical. That is a farce. But hopefully someone will see sense, when an emergency summit of Eurozone finance minister is held on Monday.

Meanwhile, the European Commission will report on how optimistic consumers feel in the region. In the past year, European consumers have not been feeling that great. But they have been feeling less pessimistic in the last three months, which could be a sign that the tide is turning.

While European consumers have been feeling a little down-in-the-mouth, the same cannot be said of US consumers. They have been feeling good about their own financial situation and also their outlook for the US economy over the near term. We should find out more when the University of Michigan reports US Consumer Sentiment numbers on Friday.

Sticking to the US, there will be more data about US personal income and jobless claims next week. Rising income and fewer people out of work could help justify the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates later this year.

Turning to matters at home, Singapore’s annual inflation rate has been negative since November. But no one wants to utter the “D” word. In April, consumer prices fell 0.5% year-on-year. Statistics Singapore, which compiles the data, said downward pressure came from a number of areas that included accommodation, transport, health, clothing and footwear.

But the cost of a basket of food rose. So too did restaurant foods, fast food, hawker food and food courts. That could be good for supermarkets Dairy Farm (SGX: D01) and Sheng Siong (SGX: OV8) and food court operator BreadTalk (SGX: 5DA).

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