Equilibrium's Finance and Investment News Roundup

This week we're revisiting topics that have been a regular feature of our roundups over the past year, including concerns surrounding Greece and the Euro, and freefalling oil prices. However, the FTSE's performance is cause for optimism.

Euro set for record quarterly fall - and Greece isn't helping

The Euro continued its slump against the Dollar this week, leaving the currency on track for its biggest ever quarterly decline. 

The currency fell to a 12-year low against the greenback earlier this month.

Ongoing concerns regarding the state of Greece's finances have contributed to the currency's dip. Greece is currently preparing to present its list of economic reforms to its creditors, which is necessary for the country to gain access to more bailout cash. But Greece and Germany have been involved in a war of words over how specific the reforms are and whether they will help to raise a sufficient amount of money. 

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel said that while Greece has some flexibility when it comes to choosing its reforms, they must "add up". 

"The question is: can and will Greece fulfil the expectations we all have?" she added. 

Greece's leader Alexis Tsipras responded by appealing for an "honest compromise" but stated that the country would not agree to "unconditional" demands. 

Experts have recently suggested that the Euro and Dollar could reach parity this year.  

Oil heads towards $55 a barrel as decline continues 

The price of Brent crude oil continued to freefall this week, with the price of a barrel nearing $55 amid international discussions relating to a nuclear deal with Iran.  

According to reports from Reuters, Brent was down to $55.40 a barrel on Tuesday morning, with U.S. crude coming in at $47.79 a barrel.  

Iran is currently in negotiations with the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China, with the six world powers hoping to restrict Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for a reduction in sanctions. This could include Iran increasing oil exports to world markets.  

However, there are concerns among investors that any deal would lead to more oil being fed into a market already struggling with oversupply.

Estimates from Facts Global Energy suggest Iran would be able to increase oil production by approximately 500,000 barrels per day within six months of sanctions being removed. 

"If the flood gates to Iranian crude open, (prices) will probably test this year's lows again," Daniel Ang, analyst at Singapore-based brokerage Phillip Futures, told Reuters Global Oil Forum. 

FTSE on track for biggest quarterly rise in 2 years 

Away from the negativity surrounding the Euro, Greece and oil prices, the FTSE was a source of optimism this week, with the index heading for its best quarterly gain in two years.  

The FTSE was up 0.1% on Tuesday morning at 6,895.56 points, taking the index's rise to 5% this quarter alone. The gains were underpinned by a rally in shares in home improvement retailer Kingfisher, which rose 4.6% to the top of the index after revealing plans to close around 60 under-performing stores in Britain.  

But it's not all good news. According to Reuters, the gains actually lagged behind those experienced by Eurozone markets, which were boosted by stimulus measures announced by the European Central Bank.  

What's more, traders believe that the upcoming general election - on May 7th - might have an adverse effect on UK stocks.  

Mark Ward, head of execution trading at Sanlam Securities UK, told Reuters: "I think the FTSE will be treading water in the next month or so. You've got political risk heading into the election ... and a weaker oil price."