The Pak Banker - - BUSINESS -

Un­em­ploy­ment and in­fla­tion were sta­ble in the 19-na­tion eu­ro­zone in early sum­mer, when the Greek cri­sis was rag­ing on and rais­ing con­cerns over the out­look of the cur­rency union. The Euro­pean Union's sta­tis­ti­cal agency, Euro­stat, said Fri­day that the job­less rate stood at 11.1 per­cent in June, un­changed for a third straight month af­ter declines ear­lier in the year. "This the low­est recorded rate in the euro area since March 2012," said EU spokes­woman Natasha Ber­taud. "We got some en­cour­ag­ing signs now. We need to con­tinue along this path." Among the euro mem­ber states, Greece had the high­est rate at 25.6 per­cent and Ger­many the low­est level at 4.7 per­cent.

The EU's ex­ec­u­tive Com­mis­sion has been push­ing hard to cre­ate job-boost­ing mea­sures and as of this fall, the Euro­pean In­vest­ment Bank will start se­lect­ing projects to in­vest in us­ing a 315 bil­lion euro pro­gram that seeks to cre­ate some 1.3 mil­lion jobs. Greece also had the high­est level of youth un­em­ploy­ment at 53.2 per­cent in April, the last month for which it had sta­tis­tics avail­able. That's more than twice the eu­ro­zone av­er­age of 22.5 per­cent. Mean­while, the eu­ro­zone's an­nual in­fla­tion rate was 0.2 per­cent in July, the same as the pre­vi­ous month and still well be­low the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank's tar­get of 2 per­cent. Econ­o­mists have warned of the risk of a pro­longed pe­riod of low or neg­a­tive in­fla­tion rates, as that can dis­cour­age in­vest­ment and spend­ing. The ECB this year launched a mas­sive mon­e­tary stim­u­lus pro­gram to bring up in­fla­tion, but it is ex­pected to take months for the rate to rise sig­nif­i­cantly, par­tic­u­larly since a drop in oil prices is still weigh­ing on the over­all level of con­sumer prices.

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