World Bulletin / News Desk
Greek unemployment rose by almost a full percentage point in June, leaving close to a quarter of the workforce idle, as Athens struggles to find yet more austerity measures to appease its lenders.
The jobless rate rose to 24.4 percent from a revised 23.5 percent in the previous month, statistics service ELSTAT said on Thursday.
The Greek jobless rate is now just a fraction behind the level in fellow euro zone sufferer Spain, whose unemployment rate for the three months to June stood at 24.6 percent, according to Madrid's official figures.
A total of 1.2 million Greeks were without work in June, up 42 percent from the same month last year.
Budget cuts imposed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund as a condition for saving the debt-laden country from a chaotic default have aggravated a wave of corporate closures and bankruptcies.
Credit to companies has been shrinking as the country's banks depend on the ECB for liquidity and cannot fund firms.
The impact has been felt hardest on those aged between 15-24 years. Unemployment in that age group stood at 55 percent, compared with 20 percent in 2008, when Greece's recession began.
Greece's economy is estimated to have shrunk by about a fifth since then. More than 600,000 jobs, more than one in 10, have been destroyed in the process.
The slump is expected to accelerate later this year if the government implements further budget cuts of almost 12 billion euros over the next two years as a pre-condition for more funds under its EU/IMF bailout.
Ecuador, Egypt, Pakistan, Venezuela, Belize, Cuba, Cyprus, Greece, Jamaica and Ukraine are all on the verge of a default, according to Moody's ratings.
A World Trade Organisation pact to ease worldwide customs rules collapsed late on Thursday over India's demands for concessions on agricultural stockpiling.
India's new nationalist government has insisted that a permanent agreement on its subsidised food stockpiling must be in place at the same time as the trade facilitation deal
Chemicals firm LyondellBasell has emerged as the mystery American buyer of Kurdish crude oil this year, but said it will not be buying any more
Some EU member states remain nervous about the impact on their own fragile economies. The sanctions deal was agreed only after initial proposals were narrowed.
Bankers in Singapore say Russians looking for a new Cyprus have come to the wrong place.
The default could get much messier and take longer to clear up if creditors force an "acceleration" for early payment on their bonds.
The ban came a day after the European Union and United States imposed their first sanctions aimed at hitting broad sectors of the Russian economy
Russia called new U.S. sanctions "destructive and short-sighted"
While the default will obviously hurt the economy, it will not be as severe as in 2001, economists say
The Czechs, who supported the action, have been against sweeping sanctions, worried about trade relations with Russia
The trade program has been criticized for disproportionately benefiting certain industries and a handful of countries, including Nigeria, South Africa and Angola.
The United Kalavrvta tanker, carrying some 1 million barrels of crude worth about $100 million, arrived off the coast of Texas on Saturday but has yet to unload its disputed cargo.
The uncertainty comes at a bad time for the 18 countries in the euro zone, whose economy is already in the doldrums.
"Kalashnikov regrets that consumers are faced with such a problem," said spokeswoman Yekaterina Boni.
Cairo and Khartoum had earlier accepted a proposal by Addis Ababa to hold the talks in Sudan in the third week of August.