German Jobless Rate Hits Best Figure Since 1990 Reunification

Germany, Europe’s most robust economy, said Thursday that its unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent in November, the lowest figure since West and East Germany were unified in 1990. Even as Chancellor Angela Merkel and other Berlin politicians struggle to form a coalition government, the German economy remains strong, with a months-long dip in the country’s jobless rate and solid demand for German products from other countries. The German report came as Eurostat, the statistics agency for the European Union, said the jobless rate for the 19-nation eurozone bloc that uses the euro currency dropped to 8.8 percent in October. It was the lowest figure since January 2009, when Europe and countries across the world were in the midst of a steep recession. The German and European jobless rates trail those in the United States, the world’s largest economy, where unemployment has dropped to 4.1 percent, a 17-year low. But the U.S. and European numbers point to steady improvement that had been slow to emerge after the devastating job losses and high unemployment seven to nine years ago. Eurostat said more than 14 million people remained out of work, but that was 1.5 million fewer than a year ago. In Spain, the jobless rate has been cut from about 25 percent to 16.7 percent. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said that while wages still are not increasing much, they could rise in the coming months as the continent’s economy continues to rebound. Patrick Chovanex, chief strategist at New York-based …

OPEC Agrees Oil Cut Extension to End of 2018

OPEC agreed on Thursday to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018 as it tries to finish clearing a global glut of crude while signalling it could exit the deal earlier if the market overheats. Non-OPEC Russia, which this year reduced production significantly with OPEC for the first time, has been pushing for a clear message on how to exit the cuts so the market doesn’t flip into a deficit too soon, prices don’t rally too fast and rival U.S. shale firms don’t boost output further. The producers’ current deal, under which they are cutting supply by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in an effort to boost oil prices, expires in March. Two OPEC delegates told Reuters the group had agreed to extend the cuts by nine months until the end of 2018, as largely anticipated by the market. OPEC also decided to cap the output of Nigeria at around 1.8 million bpd but had yet to agree a cap for Libya. Both countries have been previously exempt from cuts due to unrest and lower-than-normal production. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has yet to meet with non-OPEC producers led by Russia, with the meeting scheduled to begin after 1500 GMT. Before the earlier, OPEC-only meeting started at the group’s headquarters in Vienna on Thursday, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said it was premature to talk about exiting the cuts at least for a couple of quarters and added that the group would examine progress …

New Dengue Vaccine Could Worsen Disease in Some People

Drugmaker Sanofi says that its dengue vaccine, the world’s first, should only be given to people who have previously been sickened by the virus, according to new long-term data.   In a statement, Sanofi said it had recently examined six years of patient data. Scientists concluded that while the vaccine protects people against further infection if they’ve already been infected with dengue, that’s not the case for people who haven’t previously been sickened by the disease.   “For those not previously infected by dengue virus…the analysis found that in the longer term, more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination,” Sanofi said. “These findings highlight the complex nature of dengue infection.”     People who catch dengue more than once can be at risk of a hemorrhagic version of the disease. The mosquito-spread disease is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide. It causes a flu-like disease that can cause joint pain, nausea, vomiting and a rash. In severe cases, dengue can cause breathing problems, hemorrhaging and organ failure.   The World Health Organization says that about half the world’s population is at risk of dengue and estimates that about 96 million people are sickened by the viral infection every year.   Sanofi is proposing that national authorities update their prescribing information. It also said doctors should assess the likelihood of prior dengue infection in people before choosing whether they should get the vaccine. “For individuals who have not been previously infected by dengue virus, vaccination should not be …

More Than Half the World’s Population Lacks Social Protection

The International Labor Organization says a majority of the world’s population, four billion people, have no social protection, leaving them mired in an endless cycle of poverty.  The report says 45 percent of the global population is covered by at least one social benefit.  But that leaves 55 percent without any social protection, a situation ILO Director General Guy Ryder calls unacceptable. “That means that they do not receive any child benefit, any maternity benefit, any unemployment protection, any disability benefit, any old age pension and that they do not actively contribute to social security systems,” Ryder said. The consequences are severe and tangible.  The report finds the lack of social protection leaves people vulnerable to illness, poverty, inequality and social exclusion.  The ILO regards the situation as a significant obstacle to economic growth and social development. Ryder tells VOA governments would benefit from considering social protection as an investment in their populations. “Social protection is a human right and we should be pursuing it because it is a human right,” Ryder said. “But, also, I think there is a great deal of evidence to demonstrate that when social protection systems are in place and where they function well and one can think of the whole cycle of protection from kids right through to old age, then you reap economic benefits from it.”  The report says the lack of social protection is most acute in Africa, Asia, and the Arab States.  It recommends those regions increase their public expenditure to …

Eurozone Recovery Fueling Jobs But Wages, Prices Lag

The buoyant economic recovery across the 19-country eurozone has pushed unemployment down to its lowest level in nearly nine years but has yet to translate to a sustained pick-up in wages and prices, official figures indicated Thursday.   Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency, said the jobless rate fell to 8.8 percent in October, from 8.9 percent the previous month. That’s the lowest since January 2009, when the region, like the world economy, was reeling from the global financial crisis and the ensuing deep recession.   Across the region, there were 14.34 million people out of work, down 1.5 million in the past year. That’s clear evidence that the economic recovery, which has gathered momentum during 2017, has invigorated the jobs market, especially in some of those countries that saw the biggest spikes in unemployment after the financial crisis. That’s especially true in Spain, which for much of the past few years lumbered under the weight of an unemployment rate of around 25 percent. Now, following strong growth, unemployment has fallen to 16.7 percent.   Though the eurozone is growing strongly, inflation is still a way short of the European Central Bank’s goal of just below 2 percent, a level it considers healthiest for the economy.   Eurostat said its headline measure of consumer price inflation rose to 1.5 percent in November, largely because of higher energy prices. While up from October’s 1.4 percent, it was below expectations in markets for a rise to 1.6 percent and indicates that underlying …

НБУ пояснює зниження курсу гривні сезонним чинником

Національний банк пояснює зниження курсу гривні сезонним чинником. «Головний сезонний чинник – закупівля енергоносіїв. Хоча «Нафтогаз» зараз валюту не закуповує, а більше є її продавцем…Але є учасники ринку, які валюту закуповують. Є закупівля сезонних товарів під Новий рік», – сказав заступник голови НБУ Олег Чурій. Заступник голови НБУ зазначає, що в цілому ситуація є сприятливою, тому що зростають експорт. Він зауважив, що минулого тижня було відшкодування ПДВ на 9 мільярдів гривень. «Ви бачили, курс відразу відреагував, коли більші обсяги гривні виходять на ринок», – пояснив Чурій.  Курс гривні 29 листопада вперше від початку квітня цього року опустився нижче рівня 27 гривень за долар.  …

Past and Future Fed Chairs Testify Before US Lawmakers

Fed Chair Janet Yellen appeared on Capitol Hill Wednesday for what may be the last time she speaks before U.S. lawmakers. Yellen, whose term expires in February, will likely be succeeded by President Donald Trump’s pick, Federal Reserve governor Jerome Powell. This week, members of the U.S. Congress got a chance to speak to both. Mil Arcega has more. …

Регулятори не визнають криптовалюту платіжними засобами в Україні і попереджають про ризики – НБУ

Національний банк, Національна комісія з цінних паперів і фондового ринку й Національна комісія з регулювання ринків фінансових послуг не визнають криптовалюту платіжними засобами. «Складна правова природа криптовалют не дає нам визнати криптовалюту ні коштами, ні валютою, ні платіжними засобами іншої країни, ні валютною цінністю, коштами, цінними паперами, грошовим сурогатом», – сказав заступник голови НБУ Олег Чурій. За його словами, криптовалюти не підпадають під режим регулювання обігу коштів. Він попередив, що будь-які операції з криптовалютами, включаючи їх купівлю, продаж, обмін і конвертацію, пов’язані з великою кількістю ризиків, які мають усвідомлювати фізичні та юридичні особи до проведення таких операцій. За його словами, на сьогодні створена робоча група в складі трьох зазначених регуляторів фінансового ринку, а також Міністерства фінансів і Державної служби фінансового моніторингу, яка продовжує роботу над визначенням правового статусу криптовалют в Україні. Криптовалюта – це цифрова (віртуальна) валюта. Наразі криптовалюта, зокрема найпоширеніша, біткойн, не має визначеного правового статусу в Україні. У 2014 році в Україні була оприлюднена позиція Нацбанку, в якій йшлося про те, що біткойн не рекомендується для використання, адже це високоризиковий фінансовий інструмент. Останнім часом підвищилася увага до біткойнів через стрімке зростання їх ціни. У серпні в Нацбанку заявили про намір врегулювати правовий статус біткойнів.   …

Mexico Economy Minister Calls US NAFTA Autos Proposal ‘Not Viable’

Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said Wednesday that Trump administration demands for a U.S.-specific automotive content requirement in NAFTA were “not viable,” and he declined to specify when Mexico would formally respond. At a news conference following a series of meetings with senior U.S. trade officials and lawmakers in Washington, Guajardo said that Mexico was still trying to understand the U.S. proposals that would require 50 percent of vehicles’ value content to be produced in the United States as part of updated North American Free Trade Agreement rules. “I was clear that the domestic content [requirement] is something that is not viable at this point,” Guajardo said. He added that Mexico would eventually make a counterproposal on automotive rules of origin, but declined to specify the timing of that response. His visit was partly aimed at bolstering support in Congress for NAFTA at a time when tax legislation is consuming lawmakers’ attention and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is growing frustrated with the slow pace of NAFTA talks. U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to scrap the trade agreement if it cannot be renegotiated to shrink U.S. trade deficits and return manufacturing jobs to the United States. House Speaker Paul Ryan said after meeting with Guajardo earlier  Wednesday that congressional Republicans “are determined” to strengthen trade ties with Mexico. “I expect the administration will continue to work with us to modernize NAFTA and bolster our robust relationship with such an important ally,” Ryan said in a statement. US waiting …