Eurostat, the EU’s official statistics agency, said on Thursday that employment in the 17 countries that use the euro fell 0.3% in the fourth quarter from the third, to 145.7 million in seasonally adjusted terms.
That is the lowest number since the first quarter of 2006. In the previous quarter, employment fell 0.1%.
Europe’s leaders, who are beginning to bear a startling resemblance to U.S. leaders in terms of indecision and—when that subsides—bad decision-making, are meeting now to fight over whether austerity’s failure simply requires more austerity, or whether something should be done about all of those people out of work before they take up arms. All of which is making the Swiss very nervous, indeed.
The Swiss central bank pledged to keep up its defense of the franc cap after almost doubling its currency holdings to shield the country from the fallout caused by the euro zone’s crisis….
Jordan said in a newspaper interview on Feb. 27 that an exit from the cap was still far off given that the euro-zone crisis could flare up again. He today confirmed that assessment.
“Downside risks to the Swiss economy remain considerable,” Jordan said in Aarau. “There is a risk that tensions in the euro area will increase again.”
All of which has the dollar feeling positive frothy, rising to better than two-year high this week as our anemic recovery compares rather favorably to no recovery at all. This, of course, carries risks. Read more »
That’s the entire history of the shortest-dated of bonds targeted for a buyback at, you might notice, their all-time high price.1 Various people have various reactions to this but one reaction that no one can have is of the variety of “well, I paid more than that to buy it, so I’m not selling it to you for less, since I live in a non-mark-to-market dreamworld.” Nobody paid more to buy these bonds than Greece is planning to.2
At least, not in money. Some people paid for these bonds in suffering; others – most others – paid for them in the form of old Greek bonds, which once upon a time were, I guess, worth 100 cents on the dollar. Later, they weren’t. Eventually they were rounded up in a restructuring where every €1,000 of old bonds got exchanged into €315 face amount of new bonds, €150 face amount of let’s say par-ish EFSF notes, and €315 face amount of Greek GDP-linked securities which were worth around nothing. The total package was worth around €210-250, depending on what day you looked at it, which if you do the math assuming the EFSF bonds were worth par and the GDP warrants zero, gets you a value for those new bonds of €60-100, or 19 to 32 cents on the dollar of face amount.3Read more »
Evangelos Venizelos, who was brought in as Finance Minister of Greece just two weeks ago…reinforced the importance of euro zone membership to the country and said: “We are a member of the European Union and a member of the euro zone. This is definitive and not a reversible situation.” [CNBC]