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Euro zone trade surplus surges as imports drop, employment in record fall

The euro zone’s trade surplus with the rest of the world jumped in June to 21.2 billion euros ($25 billion) as the bloc’s drop in imports of goods outpaced the fall of exports amid a global decline in the trade due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bloc also experienced in the second quarter of 2020 its worst drop in employment ever recorded, the European Union’s statistics agency Eurostat said. It also confirmed the record fall of the bloc’s gross domestic product in the second quarter, which fell by 12.1% compared ...

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Nigeria’s unemployment rises to 27.1% in Q2 2020 – NBS

Nigeria’s unemployment rate stood at 27.1% in the second quarter of 2020, according to data from the national bureau of statistics published on Friday, in the first such figures released since 2018. The rate is an increase from the 23.1% unemployed in the third quarter fo 2018. Nigeria has been grappling not only with the new coronavirus pandemic, but also from the impact of oil prices that plunged as a result of the pandemic. Source: Reuters (Reporting By Libby George; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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Coronavirus jolts Malaysia’s economy into first contraction since global financial crisis

Malaysia’s economy plunged into its first contraction since the 2009 global financial crisis in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged business activity, prompting the central bank to sharply cut its GDP forecast for this year. The central bank said on Friday gross domestic product shrank by 17.1% in April-June from the same period a year earlier – its worst slump in over 20 years and a much deeper contraction than the 10% decline forecast in a Reuters poll. The downturn comes as the government imposed strict curbs on ...

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S.Korea’s deputy PM expects economy to rebound in Q3

Korean Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki said Friday that his government expected the economy would rebound in the third quarter based on recent positive signs of economic recovery. “It is possible enough (for the South Korean economy) to record a positive growth in the third quarter… The third-quarter result would be of great significance as it can determine the fourth-quarter outcome,” Hong said in a press conference with foreign correspondents in Seoul. “What matters is export… If export continues to become better than now, ...

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India’s Consumer-Price Inflation Rose in July

India’s consumer-price inflation rose in July, government data showed Thursday. The benchmark consumer-price index rose 6.93% in July compared with the same period a year earlier, accelerating from June’s revised rise of 6.23%. Consumer-price data weren’t released for April and May due to data compilation issues during the coronavirus lockdown. The Reserve Bank of India intends to keep inflation around 4%, a rate that was breached in December when it accelerated to 7.35%. Source: Dow Jones

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Britons worry increasingly about job security, survey shows

People in Britain are increasingly worried about losing their jobs as the country’s economy struggles to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, a survey published on Wednesday showed. Forty-two percent of respondents said their job was less safe than it was a year ago, an increase of five percentage points from July, opinion poll firm Kantar said. One in four thought that over the rest of 2020 their job was not at all or not very secure, little changed from July. Employment in Britain fell by the most ...

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French unemployment rate hits 37-year low as lockdown skews data

French unemployment fell to a 37-year low in the second quarter, as the continuation of a multi-year downtrend was exaggerated by a strict coronavirus lockdown that meant people were unable to look for work, INSEE statistics agency data showed on Thursday. The jobless rate fell to 7.1%, from 7.8% in the first quarter, hitting its lowest level since the second quarter of 1983, when it stood at 7.0%. INSEE warned that unemployment data for the first two quarters of 2020 was skewed because of the mid-March to mid-May lockdown, which ...

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BOJ paying banks to boost pandemic relief, compensates for negative interest rates

As the Bank of Japan tries to pump more funds to companies hit by the coronavirus pandemic, it is offering banks hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses, a move analysts say is aimed at easing the side-effects of its negative interest rate policy. Record bank lending in recent months suggests the BOJ’s plan is working — a rare success of late in its battle to revive the economy — but it is also a sign that policymakers’ focus is now more on supporting banks, rather than keeping rates low. ...

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U.S. Jobless Claims Fall to Less Than 1 Million In Aug. 8 Week – Update

U.S. unemployment claims fell to less than one million last week for the first time since the pandemic hit the U.S. in March. New applications for unemployment benefits dropped to 963,000 in the week ended Aug. 8, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims are down significantly from a peak of near seven million in March, but remain at historically high levels and well above the pre-pandemic record of 695,000. The number of people collecting unemployment benefits through regular state programs, which cover the majority of workers, also decreased at ...

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Thai PM says economic crisis will not go away quickly amid pandemic

Thailand’s prime minister said on Thursday the economic crisis will not disappear quickly amid the coronavirus pandemic as his new cabinet faces the tough task of reviving an economy expected to shrink by a record this year. The entire world is suffering one of the worst economic challenges in modern times, and Thailand is caught up in that global storm because it is dependent heavily on exports and tourism, Prayuth Chan-ocha said in a televised address. “We cannot escape the storm. We are a small boat in a big ocean, ...

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Swedish economy to shrink less than feared in 2020, says think tank

Sweden’s economy will shrink less than previously expected this year due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and measures to control its spread, a leading think tank said on Thursday. Sweden opted against the kind of draconian lockdown adopted across much of Europe and, though its economy has been badly hit, it looks likely to suffer a milder downturn, though still almost as bad as the recession that followed the financial crash in 2008-2009. Economic output is expected to fall by 4.8% this year and expand 3.4% in 2021, ...

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Australian unemployment hits 22-year high

The number of unemployed Australians actively looking for work has surpassed 1 million for the first time. According to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which is in Canberra, on Thursday the unemployment rate was 7.5 percent in July – up from 7.4 percent in June – the highest level since November 1998. However, there were signs of Australia’s economy beginning to recover from the coronavirus crisis. The number of people working increased by 114,700 from June and the number of hours worked increased 1.3 percent. The ...

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Taiwan Seeks to Start Free-Trade Talks With U.S. — Update

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said she wants to start talks on a free-trade pact with the U.S., part of a broad effort to deepen her island democracy’s partnership with Washington and resist pressure from Beijing. In an online speech aired Wednesday, Ms. Tsai said starting trade negotiations are among her second-term priorities in strengthening relations with the U.S., a major trading partner and key arms supplier for Taiwan. Ms. Tsai didn’t set a time frame for the talks. Progress toward formal free-trade negotiations have been stalled for roughly two decades ...

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Brazil’s industrial confidence rebounds in August

Brazil’s industrial sector began to shake off some of the pessimism caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic to show a generalized uptick in confidence this month, the National Industry Confederation (CNI) said on Wednesday. Its Industrial Entrepreneurs’ Confidence Index (ICEI) reached 57 points in August, on a scale of zero to 100, after having fallen to 34.5 in April. Anything over 50 is considered to reflect confidence in the sector, while anything under 50 points indicates pessimism, according to the CNI. August’s results show “confidence has returned generally,” the industry ...

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UK economy faces long climb back to health after historic 20% crash

Britain’s economy shrank by a record 20.4% in the second quarter when the coronavirus lockdown was tightest, the most severe contraction reported by any major economy so far, with a wave of job losses set to hit later in 2020. The scale of the economic hit may also revive questions about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s handling of the pandemic, with Britain suffering the highest death toll in Europe. More than 50,000 UK deaths have been linked to the disease. “Today’s figures confirm that hard times are here,” finance minister Rishi ...

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