Here are the economic highlights from the week ending January 4th.
Spanish unemployment fell by 107,570 in the month of December, decreasing the total number of unemployed in the Iberian nation to 4.7 million. With this boost from the December numbers, unemployment in 2013 as a whole decreased by 147,385. That makes 2013 the first year since 2007 in which Spanish unemployment decreased over the calendar year. Spain’s economy, which paid a heavy toll during the European debt crisis, has also been battling with record high unemployment. As of October 2013, Spain’s general unemployment rate sits at 26.7% and its youth unemployment is over 50%.
Even though the recent spike in employment could be related to temporary hiring during Christmas, it still provides a glimmer of hope that the worst of Spain’s economic crisis is behind them. Maybe they can now run away from their bulls with slightly less angst.
The annual inflation rate (as measured by the Consumer Price Index) in Turkey for 2013 was 7.4%. Earlier in the year, the Turkish Central Bank had set a target rate of 6.8% for 2013. However, rising global oil prices and a fall in the Turkish Lira due to political instability throughout the year has caused inflation to exceed expectations.
High inflation proves especially worrisome for Turkey, as it is also trying to bring its current account deficit under control. Turkish current account deficit currently sits at 6.1% of GDP and a loss in the value of the Lira makes that deficit even harder to lower. Ideally, the Turkish Central Bank should raise interest rates to battle this inflation . However, Turkey will hold local elections in March and it appears that the Central Bank will not play a very active role in the economy until the Turks go to the polls.
“Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.”
-John Kenneth Galbraith