09.20 Back in Europe, the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) has warned that the country's budget deficit could increase to 4.6pc of GDP during 2012 and 2013.
A deficit of this size means the Dutch government would miss a target of 3pc entrenched in a new fiscal pact signed by 25 of the EU's 27 leaders this month (Britain and the Czech Republic opted out). Under the new rules, The European Court of Justice will have the power to fine countries up to 0.1pc of GDP if they fail to comply.
Appearing to rub the missed deficit target in Barroso and co.'s face this morning, here's the front page of the CPB's report:
09.29 The CPB also warned that the Dutch economy would not grow at levels seen before the 2008 financial crisis until 2014.
The macroeconomic forecaster said that the recovery will start during the second half of 2012, with expected annual growth of 1.25pc during 2013, and 1.5pc growth in 2014 and 2015. More from the report:
With two recessions in a short period of time, the economy will not exceed the first quarter of 2008 level until 2014. This means that on balance, the Dutch economy will not have grown for six years. With the exception of World War II, this has not happened since the global crisis during the 1930’s. At the time, it was not until 1936 that the GDP volume exceeded the 1929 level.
08.49 Most Asian stocks fell sharply after China raised fuel prices by the biggest margin in nearly three years. The Shanghai Composite index fell 1.4pc, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 1.1pc.
The country raised petrol prices by around 6pc and diesel by 7pc after a surge in the cost of crude oil, the National Development Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement on Monday night. Dai Ming, a fund manager at Shanghai Kingsun Investment Management & Consulting, told Bloomberg:
Higher energy costs and falling profits may worry investors that the economy is slowing even further.
Cars queue up at a Chinese petrol station ahead of the price hike in Beijing (Photo: AFP)
08.21 Meanwhile, Italian PM Mario Monti will meet with union leaders this afternoon to try to persuade them to change their stance on long-cherished legal protections for employees.
Mr Monti wants to ease firing rules, expand jobless benefits and reduce temporary work contracts as part of a sweeping programme of reforms to open up Italy's economy.
08.08 We'll bring you more Budget news throughout the day. For now, we still have a debt crisis on our hands.
After months of turmoil, Greece will make its first repayment on a €14.4bn bond today.
For months, market commentators saw the D-Day of March 20 as "default" day. But by securing a second bailout, it's become "deliverance" day.
For now, anyway.