Eurozone and the World Update 2017 Q1
For the first month in the year 2017, the eurozone’s unemployment rate was 9.6%, as it had been during the last month of the fourth quarter of 2016. Czech Republic and Germany has the lowest unemployment rates, at 3.4% and 3.8%, respectively. Greece has the highest unemployment rate at the start of this quarter at 23.0%. GDP grew at a rate of 0.5% during the last quarter of 2016 and was predicted to increase in 2017.
Inflation for the Eurozone rose to 1.8% early this first quarter due to the rise of costs in food and energy. It is the highest rate in four years, having increased from 1.1% in December 2016.
UK’s unemployment rate steadily dropped to 4.7% at the start of the quarter. This is the lowest since 2005.
Prime Minister Theresa May is set to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon this week. This will start the two-year negotiation for Britain leaving the European Union. Secretary David Davis said that while the administration is leading towards a ‘hard Brexit’, immigration caps will change depending on the demand. Hard Brexit is coined for Britain’s exit from the European Union without access to the European Single Market in exchange for full control over immigration.
People with old £1 coins are advised to have the coins replaced or cashed in. Starting in October 15, the old coins will no longer be considered as legal tender.
London is greeted with cold weather at the start of the year. Pollution levels soared as the cold weather brought freezing fogs and disrupted traffic at airports and on the roads. Storm Doris hit United Kingdom last February, bringing with it heavy snow that disrupted major roads and caused flight and train delays and cancellations.
Just for the month of January of this year, close to 500 migrants were said to have attempted to illegally cross the border to Spain. The following month, thousands of protesters marched the streets of Barcelona. They are urging the Spanish government to meet its pledge of taking in refugees. This was after Spain had fallen short of the target of 16,000 asylum seekers it pledged to take in, as per an agreement last 2015.
Spain was on alert last January following a warning of heavy snow storms, due to temperatures plummeting following a cold front. Some of the provinces in Spain has never had snow in over a century. This cold weather persisted until March, hampering the farming industry.
Germany’s economy grew by 0.4% during the last quarter of 2016, the growth pushing Germany as the fastest-growing G7 economy. The country’s GDP increased by 1.9% last year, driven by consumer spending. Inflation rose to 2% this quarter, its highest since 2013, prompting ECB to do monetary policy stance reviews.
The government aims to deport more than half of the 700,000 requests for asylum made in 2016, following the deportation of 80,000 migrants the year before. Angela Merkel, who had declared the open-door refugee, is now supporting repatriation of refugees.
It was a challenge to incorporate accepted refugees into the labor market. Refugees were steered into Germany’s apprenticeship system, the issues regarding their language skills and experience leading to low job placement rates.
Italy’s GDP grew 0.2% in the last quarter of 2016, with the growth of the entire year of 2016 increasing to 1.0% from 0.7% in 2015. Increase in fixed investment, upward movement of PMI and increased government consumption contributed to this growth.
Last January, four successive earthquakes hit Italy within four hours, causing building collapse. There were no casualties, but emergency services were hard to reach due to heavy snowfall in the area. A few days later, an avalanche hit a hotel in Farindola, killing five people. Nine people were pulled alive from the hotel, and 23 people are still being searched.
Consumer price inflation rose to its highest level since 2012, averaging 1.2%, while GDP grew to 1.4% in 2016, at $204,815 million, with a 2.0% annual change during the last quarter of the previous year. Financial markets and stakeholders are concerned with the steady economic growth, that it would not be enough to sustain the country’s public debt, which rose in the first quarter of 2017. The budget deficit was at its lowest level since 1974, now at more than half to 2.1% of the GDP.
Business and consumer confidence in the country rose mid-quarter, with the economic climate indicator rising from 1.2 pts within the quarter.
Portugal welcomes the Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, in her state visit to the country. She would take part in a conference, receive an honorary doctorate and attend business seminars in Lisbon.
Turkey has announced an end to the operation “Euphrates Shield”. It aims to clear out members of ISIS from a Syrian border town. The withdrawal of troops from IS-controlled areas has not been announced. Four areas in Syria are given evacuation orders following an agreement between the Syrian government and the rebel groups. Civilians trapped in the crossfire have been reported to have died due to shortage of food and medicine.
According to the Syria Regional Crisis Health Access Monitor, there is an increase in attacks against medical units, personnel and patients last year, with confirmed 338 attacks on various healthcare facilities, killing around 15 health workers and 53 patients.
Increased temperatures were observed during the first few weeks of summer. Temperatures were forecasted to reach up to 47 degrees Celsius in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Several parts of India have temperatures no lower than 36.4 degrees Celsius. The temperature increase renews fears of drought and food shortage.
India approved its doubled maternal leave, the new law also including day care facilities, performance appraisal systems and work from home policies. The higher costs to employers, however, could cut down demand for female workers. Only the women working in the formal economy are qualified to receive the benefits of this law.
Philippines protested China’s plans to construct an environmental monitoring station on Scarborough Shoal. The shoal is located within the 322km Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines. Scarborough Shoal is one of the disputed areas in the South China Sea.
The country made the call to continue the global action to reduce carbon emissions. China is one of the 195 countries that agreed to the climate pack in 2015. With US President Donald Trump expected to sign an executive order rescinding the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, the world looks now to China, which has not stopped in increasing the use of renewable energy and reduce coal usage.
President Donald Trump signed the executive order dismantling Obama’s climate policies. He said that doing so will help grow American jobs. An official from the White House argued that having a strong economy is the best way to protect the environment.
Hundreds of people have been detained all over the country without authorization. They were slated for deportation within two months of Trump’s presidency. Individuals who were seen as the labor force for the agricultural and dairy industry are arrested by immigration officers. The enforcement of the crackdown of immigrants is exacerbating the labor shortage in the agricultural sector.