World Bulletin / News Desk
Greece's economy shrank 6.2 percent on an annual basis in the second quarter, a slump thatis expected to persist as the government scrambles to nail downbillions in additional cuts to keep international bailout fundsflowing.
Currently in its fifth consecutive year of economicdepression, Greece is suffering record unemployment with nearlyone in four Greeks without a job, undermining efforts to meetrevenue targets and reduce the budge Athens is keen to convince euro zone partners and the International Monetary Fund of its will to bring an economic adjustment plan back on track before asking for modifications and more time to spread out the pain of more cutbacks. But the fiscal drag caused by the pursued austerity policiescoupled with liquidity constraints and lingering uncertainty islikely to keep recessionary headwinds in full force.
"We project GDP to contract by 7.1 percent in 2012 and by2.4 percent in 2013, on the back of further significant declinesin disposable incomes, rising unemployment and plummetinginvestment activity," Eurobank economist Theodore Stamatiou said.
Greece's jobless rate has already climbed to 23.1 percent,with nearly 55 percent of those aged 15-24 out of work, adesperate situation that fed into the popularity of anti-bailoutparties in elections earlier this year.
The three-party coalition government that emerged after tworounds of polls is working to nail down 11.5 billion euros ofsavings and plans to revive a labour measure targeting 40,000public servants for eventual dismissal. Without the additional savings the government's budget willstill show a primary deficit of 1 percent of GDP in 2014, wellshort of a targeted 4.5 percent surplus to help stabilise debt.
The second quarter preliminary gross domestic product(GDP)estimate, released by statistics service ELSTAT on Monday,was based on seasonally unadjusted data and follows a 6.5percent GDP decline in the previous quarter. Think tank IOBE expects the economy to shrink 6.9 percentthis year, a bleaker outlook than estimates by the Bank of Greece and the OECD earlier this year, which project acontraction of 5.0 to 5.3 percent, respectively.
ELSTAT did not provide detailed estimates on the GDP components - consumption, capital investment, exports andimports - in the second quarter. "It's not a major surprise, we knew the Greek economy wascontinuing to struggle but hopefully it's some sign that therate of decline is starting to bottom out," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at London research firm Markit. Greece is behind targets and structural reform benchmarksagreed with international lenders who are demanding fullimplementation before official funding resumes.
Inspectors from the European Union, International MonetaryFund and European Central Bank troika have back an assessment ofGreece's performance and will report back in September onwhether it deserves to get more payments under the 130 billioneuro rescue package. Weak spots where Greece has failed to deliver as plannedinclude public sector job cuts, reductions in state-run pensionbenefits, the settlement of nearly 7 billion in state arrearsand proceeds from privatisations.
The government changed the leadership team at theprivatisation agency aiming speed up the asset sales programmewhich fell far below a target of more than 3.6 billion euros. Public administration reform, renewed emphasis on curtailingtax evasion are also part of the reforms agenda.
Russia's oil output stands at over 10 million barrels per day, the world's largest, but it needs new sources of crude oil, including hard-to-recover deposits and the Arctic, to sustain this level
The strike at Yue Yuen is not just one of China's biggest in recent years, it's also more clearly driven by workers' fears that they have been scammed by an opaque and convoluted welfare payment system.
When the system is in place citizens will be able to buy a limited amount of subsidised fuel, and will have to pay a normal, market price for any extra quantities.
Production in Upper Nile state's Paloch oilfields, where output has not been hampered by the conflict, stood at 159,000 barrels per day this week.
Dragomir Stoynev accused fellow European Union members of a politically-motivated attempt to scupper the project, and urged the bloc to understand the effect that doing so would have on its members.
The drops have come mainly because Japan did not take any cargoes in March and South Korea is not scheduled to take any shipments in April, according to the tanker data.
Japan's finance ministry and central bank have declined to comment on the payments.
But a survey shows that most people believe inflation is speeding up and could surpass 37 percent this year.
A fifth payment of $450 million was due on April 15, contingent on Iran having diluted half of its most sensitive stockpile of nuclear materials
The year-on-year inflation rate in the 18 countries sharing the euro was 0.5 percent in March against 0.7 percent in February, the European Union's statistics office Eurostat said.
Pushed by higher food and shelter costs, the consumer price index rose in March.
Country of origin labels are currently voluntary in the European Union and many of the bloc's governments want to keep it that way
While reverse flows would help cushion the effects of a Russian export cut during mild-demand summer months, analysts say they would not be sufficient in winter.
The tanker, Aegean Dignity, is due to take its load to Italy, the NOC quoted an oil official as saying in a statement on its website
TAP aims at enhancing the security of natural gas supply as well as diversification of gas supplies for the European markets.