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Unemployment in eurozone hits a new record high of 11.8%

Eurozone unemployment has again hit a fresh record high, rising to 11.8 per cent in November from 11.7 per cent in October. Spain leads the pack of jobless figures with a 26.6 per cent unemployment rate, while Austria had the lowest rate at 4.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, the EU statistics office reported that during December, eurozone consumer prices rose more than expected by economists. The main reasons for this hike were higher prices for food and services which offset drops in energy costs. The inflation rate remained steady at 2.2 per cent versus Bloomberg survey predictions of a decline to 2.1 per cent. Later in the week, the European Central Bank left its key interest rates on hold at 0.75 per cent.

Meanwhile, German industrial output rose less than forecast in November due to a sharp fall in energy and consumer goods production. According to the Economy Ministry, industrial production rose 0.2 per cent compared to October, when it fell by revised two per cent.

The November increase is the first increase in four months. A Bloom­berg News survey had forecast a gain of one per cent. From a year earlier, production fell an adjusted 2.9 per cent.

Meanwhile, according to the Federal Statistics Office, during November German exports fell more than forecast as the sovereign debt crisis negatively impacted demand in the eurozone. Compared to October, adjusted exports fell by 3.4 per cent.

This is the steepest drop in over a year. However, recent sentiment among German entrepreneurs suggests the economy may recover soon.

Finally, the UK’s trade deficit narrowed in November as exports rose more than imports, official figures by the National Statistics Office show. The goods trade gap was at £9.16 billion (€11bn) compared with £9.49 billion in October. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey was £9 billion.

Exports rose by 2.9 per cent to £24.8 billion (€30bn). This is the highest since July. Imports rose 1.1 per cent. The trade numbers are a slight improvement on the previous month, but the broad picture is largely flat.

This article was compiled by Bank of Valletta plc for general information purposes only.

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