Politics dominated the headlines last week as Europe faces a slew of new obstacles on the political front. The rise of anti-EU and populist political movements threatens to unseat incumbent governments in both France and Germany at a time when euro-skepticism continues to accelerate. Furthermore, Greece splashing back onto the scene is setting up another showdown between the Euro Area and International Monetary Fund. The IMF continues to call for debt relief and haircuts while Germany refuses to consider any such moves, calling it contrary to the principles set forth by the Lisbon Treaty.
Aside from Europe, both the Reserve Bank of Australia and Reserve Bank of New Zealand opted to keep interest rates at their respective record lows of 1.50% and 1.75%. The RBNZ continued to work to talk down the Kiwi-dollar valuation as it seeks to restore a higher pace of inflation. Other important news from Asia included the latest Chinese trade figures, with the surplus reaching a 1-year high as exports and imports rebounded. In the US, stock benchmarks continued to grind higher amid promises from the Trump Administration that a brand new tax plan will be unveiled in the coming weeks.