Europe July 2005

Posted by Scriptaty | 1:14 AM

  • Preliminary data on the United Kingdom’s Q1 2005 economy showed 0.6-percent growth over the previous quarter and 2.8 percent from the first quarter of 2004. The nation’s jobless rate fell 0.1 percent between February and April to 4.7 percent, a rate that matched the same period in 2004.

  • France’s April unemployment rate remained at 10.2 percent, a 0.2-percent increase over the same month a year earlier.

  • According to France’s National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), France has entered “a less robust growth phase,” as indicated by low GDP growth in Q1 and punctuated by a softening of French exports. Even though France is experiencing “dynamic domestic demand in the form of household consumption, house purchases, and corporate investment,” an economic upturn is unlikely to happen until after Q2. “Inflation is expected to stabilize at around 1.5 percent Q2, permitting a rise in purchasing power in 2005 similar to that of 2004 and growth in consumption of a little more than 2 percent,” says the INSEE. “The principal uncertainty hanging over this outlook is a failure of France’s continental neighbors to spur growth in domestic demand. The probability of such a failure would be increased if oil prices rise.”

  • Germany’s April jobless rate fell 0.4 percent to 11.6 percent from the month before, but was 1.3 percent above the rate of April 2004.

  • In a surprise move, Sweden’s central bank cut the country’s benchmark index rate by 50 basis points to an all-time low of 1.5 percent. The Riksbank said falling GDP growth, both in Sweden and in the Eurozone, contributed to its decision. The European Central Bank is being pressured to cut overall rates in the eurozone.