Quarter of All Greece Unemployed (AP)
Greece’s national statistical authority released figures for the fourth quarter of 2012, which revealed that 26 percent of the country’s workforce was unemployed. This rate was an increase from the previous quarter’s 24.8 percent and a huge jump from the previous year, which saw 20.7 percent unemployment. When broken down, that figure means 1.29 people were jobless from October to December last year, and — worst of all — 57.8 percent of the workforce under age 25 were unemployed. With this figure continuing to grow and austerity measures still ineffective, Greece’s economy could get much worse before showing any signs of improvement.
New European Market High Ignores Region’s Blemishes (Bloomberg)
As European policy makers gather in Brussels for a two-day summit, they do so just as key European stock metrics show that bourses in Europe have returned to 2008 pre-crash highs. Currently, England’s FTSE 100 is up to 6,500.50 (+.29 percent), Germany’s DAX sits at 8,025.62 (+.69 percent) and the STOXX European 600 Index lies at 2,727.60 (+.85 percent). Pacing its European brethren slightly, this morning’s U.S. index futures show that the Dow will continue its longest extended rally since 1996. So, should investors enjoy the ride or strap in for an imminent whipsaw? Let’s see what St. Patrick’s Day has to say about the situation this weekend…
The Next Shoe to Drop… China’s Credit Bubble (CNBC)
As China struggles to regain the momentum of earlier growth, analysts on both sides of the Atlantic are becoming more bearish on the world’s second-leading economy. Chief among them is Marc Faber, who seems to be warming up for a killer Henny Penny imitation: “Whether they [Chinese] can ensure continuous growth will depend on reforms and how to deflate the colossal credit bubble we have in China.” The chief problem lies with the fact that much of China’s growth seems to have been funded with “underground credit” or questionable loans and investments. Should these loans unravel, it could decimate the Chinese economy and trigger another 2008-style market drop. Let’s hope not.