It seems that virtually every newspaper and television network across the United States has reported on the greater EMEA region’s economic instability throughout the first half of 2012. From Spain’s record-breaking unemployment rate to Greece’s bailout, most newspaper headlines have been focused solely on the region’s current double-dip recession.
But are there any signs that the region is on the path towards economic recovery? Has unemployment decreased? Is consumer confidence beginning to improve? And are output prices rising or falling?
As EMEA’s workforce prepares for the second half of 2012, are economists predicting a brighter economic forecast for EMEA? Is there any indication that recovery will begin to uptick?
For answers to such questions, the following article will provide information regarding regional employment, business and consumer confidence, reserve funds, and producer prices.
According to the European Commission, the euro zone’s business and consumer confidence index dropped considerably last month, declining from 92.8 in April to 90.6 in May. In fact, last month’s economic sentiment indicator was the lowest that has been recorded in 33 months. Furthermore, the region’s industrial, construction, retail trade, and services confidence indices all declined on a month-to-month basis in May; consumer confidence was the only index that rose last month – and that increase was quite minute, at 0.6. The region’s sentiment indicator has now been measured below its long-term average of 100 for 10 straight months.
In early May, the Bundesbank released the nation’s latest employment situation statistics, which revealed that, contradictory to economists’ projections, Germany’s national unemployment rate declined last month, to its lowest level since the early 1990s. According to the bank, Germany’s overall unemployment rate was measured at 6.7 percent, while joblessness varied by region. In West Germany, unemployment remained low, at 5.8 percent, while joblessness was still above-average in East Germany, at 10.6 percent. In all, 2.83 million Germans were without work last month, a decrease of 3.5 percent, when compared to May 2011’s figures.
Italy’s consumer confidence statistics have generally fluctuated throughout the first half of 2012. As recently as March, the nation’s confidence measurement rose to 96.1, its highest rate since November 2011. However, the rate unexpectedly deteriorated in May, dropping to 86.5 – an all-time record low. Three of the nation’s four consumer confidence indices also declined from April to May, including the economic, current, and future measurements, according to the Italian Statistics Office. Economists do not believe consumer confidence will improve anytime soon either, as the nation’s economic recession is projected to continue this summer.
Russia’s latest reserve fund statistics were released in early June, revealing a year-to-year total fund increase of 162 percent, when compared to June 2011. As of June 1st, the fund totaled RUB1.95 trillion, which equates to $60.21 billion. The fund also rose on a month-to-month basis, by seven percent; in May, the fund was measured at RUB1.83 trillion. Despite the month-to-month and year-to-year increase, the fund is still nearly RUB3 trillion below its January 2009 level. Of note, the country’s national welfare fund also rose last month, climbing to $85.5 billion.
During the first week of June, the Office for National Statistics released the United Kingdom’s latest Producer Price Index (PPI) measurements. According to the Office, the nation’s output prices rose by 2.8 percent from May 2011 to May 2012, the lowest year-to-year increase of 2012. Input prices also augmented on a year-ago basis, but only by 0.1 percent; year-to-year input prices had risen by as much as 7.7 percent as recently as February. In the meantime, national input, output, and petroleum product prices all dropped from April to May, by 0.7, 0.2, and three percent, respectively.