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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Eurozone recession sends shares lower

Single currency crisis spreads northwards affecting EU's core economies of Germany and France

A deepening recession in the 17-nation eurozone sent shares lower on Thursday amid evidence that the problems of the single currency's crisis-hit periphery were spreading northwards to affect monetary union's core economies of Germany and France.

Despite an easing of financial tensions in the second half of the year, gross domestic product in the members of the monetary union dropped by 0.6% in the final three months of 2012, a heftier decline than the markets had been expecting.

An across-the-board fall in output that affected both large and small economies meant that the eurozone economy failed to register an increase in activity in a single quarter of 2012, with a flat first three months of the year followed by three successive drops in output. The combination of weakening activity and high budget deficits prompted a warning from the credit rating agency Standard & Poor that Spain, France, Italy and Portugal were at risk of a downgrade in 2013.

Although Britain also registered a fall in output in the final three of 2013 and is one quarter of contraction away from triple-dip recession, Moritz Kraemer, managing director of European sovereign ratings at S&P said it was not a foregone conclusion that the UK would be stripped of its coveted AAA rating.

Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, said seven eurozone countries – Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Portugal and Finland – were already officially in recession after suffering two or more successive quarters of falling output.

The euro slid on the foreign exchanges amid news that the two biggest economies of monetary union both ended the year in worse shape than feared. Germany contracted by 0.6%, its worst performance since the global recession was at its most intense in early 2009, while France finally admitted yesterday that it would not meet its budget objectives for 2013 after posting a fall of 0.3% in national output in the three months to December 2012.

Even steeper falls were recorded in those countries where full-blown austerity programmes are in force. The Italian economy shrank by 0.9% in a continuation of a recession that has been under way since the middle of 2011. Portugal reported a 1.8% contraction, Cyprus a 1.0% fall, while Spain had already announced that GDP dropped by 0.7%. Greece said output in the final three months of 2012 was 6% below that of a year earlier, a slightly slower pace of decline than the 6.7% fall in the year to the third quarter. Unemployment rose to 27% of the workforce.

The poor performance of the eurozone's two biggest economies meant the drop in GDP in the fourth quarter was worse than the 0.1% fall in the third quarter. Consensus among analysts polled by Reuters had been for a 0.4% drop.

Germany's main stock market index, the DAX, fell by 1% yesterday, with shares in Paris, Milan and Madrid also losing ground. The euro dropped against the dollar and the yen on the foreign exchanges amid speculation that the European Central Bank will cut interest rates in a response to the fall in output.

The US grew by 2.2% in 2012 and Japan by 1.9%, while GDP in the eurozone contracted by 0.5%.

Charles Dumas, of Lombard Street Research, said: "The eurozone recession in the fourth quarter of 2012 reminds one its long-term growth performance has varied between poor (Germany) and atrocious (Italy). Whereas the US has largely completed the structural adjustments needed to remove pre-2008 imbalances, in Euroland the nature of the monetary union conflicts with what needs to be done.

Jonathan Loynes, chief European economist at Capital Economics, said the figures for the end of 2012 were to an extent "old news", with more recent survey evidence pointing to a pick up in both sentiment and activity. "But for now at least, they are not strong enough to suggest that the eurozone has pulled out of recession."


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Greek Unemployment Hits Record High

ATHENS, Greece -- Unemployment in Greece rose to a record 27 percent in November as a result of the financial crisis and austerity measures that...

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Small bomb targets Greek far-right party office in Piraeus


Kathimerini

Small bomb targets Greek far-right party office in Piraeus
Kathimerini
A small bomb has exploded outside the local offices of a Greek extreme right-wing party in Piraeus, the port of Athens, causing no injury and minor damage. It was the second attack of its kind in two days targeting the Golden Dawn party, which rose ...


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Piranesi works drawn together in London for first time since 18th century

Artist's 17 drawings of ancient Greek temples in Paestum, intended for set of engravings, on show at Sir John Soane's Museum

A set of rare Piranesi drawings is to be reunited at Sir John Soane's Museum in London for the first time since they were made, soon before the Italian artist's death in 1778.

The 17 drawings – 15 of which belong to the Soane, with the two on loan from institutions in Paris and Amsterdam – depict the three magnificent ancient Greek temples in Paestum, south of Naples.

With typical Piranesian drama, they depict dark, gloomy and heavily shadowed ruins. The heavily pitted doric colonnades march gloomily into the distance; the crumbling masonry sprouts foliage.

The images were the working drawings for an elaborate set of engravings completed and published after the artist's death as Différentes Vues de Pesto (Various Views of Paestum).

According to Soane Museum curator Jerzy Kierkuc-Bielinski, Piranesi was somewhat secretive about his studio practice, and very few working drawings such as these survive. Best known for his engravings of views of the monuments of ancient Rome, and his fantastical series Carceri d'Invenzione ("imaginary prisons"), he liked his admirers to believe that his work was the product of immediate and profound moments of inspiration. A separate pair of drawings in the museum, which he probably presented to the Scottish architect Robert Adam, for example, shows imaginary architectural scenes without the hint of a mistake or correction, apparently the product of a moment of unperfectable genius.

But these late drawings of Paestum, said Kierkuc-Bielinski, tell a different story. "They are incredibly carefully planned," he said. "You can see that they start with drawing, that's then fixed with chalk, then there's ink washes and pen-and-ink."

Different drawings show different stages in the creative process being worked through: one emphasises the deep shadows cast by the temple columns, for example; another just lightly suggests the shadows through a hint of red chalk, while the lines of the architecture are focused on. "You can see different things being investigated," said Kierkuc-Bielinski. "He is working in the tradition of drawing being used as an extension of thought."

The temples, buit by Greek colonists from the sixth century BC, lay virtually undiscovered in the malarial swamps of coastal Campania until the 1740s, when the architect Mario Gioffredo made the first measured drawings of the structures.

The drawings made by Piranesi on the spot in this still remote and disease-ridden spot would have been rough working sketches – not the elaborate drawings seen at the Soane, said Kierkuc-Bielinski. These drawings would have been worked up later in the studio, with the help of assistants.

Indeed, the bucolic scenes of rural folk and their flocks seen in the foreground of many of the drawings are complete fantasy, he added, some of them comically so (a group of fishermen, for example, appear to be hauling up their nets near the steps of a temple in one of the drawings, without a wave in sight).

And in some of the drawings, the perspective is clearly altered to emphasise the sinister, louring effects of the temple colonnades. "These are dramatic drawings with distorted perspective: he creates highly ambiguous spaces," said Kierkuc-Bielinski. "There is incredible theatricality and inventiveness; he breaks rules and creates dense, rich, terrifying, disconcerting scenes."

Piranesi's Paestum drawings are at Sir John Soane's Museum, London WC2, until 18 May


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Greek pensioners protest against austerity


euronews

Greek pensioners protest against austerity
euronews
Hundreds of Greek pensioners have staged a protest against the government's austerity measures. The elderly have faced two pension reductions since 2010 and demonstrators also say they are suffering problems obtaining medicines as the national social ...

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Greece's poverty deepens as unemployment rate hits record 27 percent


Kathimerini

Greece's poverty deepens as unemployment rate hits record 27 percent
Washington Post
ATHENS, Greece — Unemployment in Greece rose to a record 27 percent in November as a result of the financial crisis and austerity measures that will leave, according to one survey, nearly a third of the population in poverty by the end of the year.
More gloom for Greece as unemployment, GDP figures releasedKathimerini
Unemployment beats records in GreeceThe Voice of Russia
Greek unemployment hits record as poverty spreadsMiamiHerald.com
Greek Reporter -RT
all 12 news articles »

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Greek poverty deepens as unemployment hits record


euronews

Greek poverty deepens as unemployment hits record
U.S. News & World Report
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Unemployment in Greece rose to a record 27 percent in November as a result of the financial crisis and austerity measures that will leave, according to one survey, nearly a third of the population in poverty by the end of the year.
Grim Greek jobless total hits 27 percenteuronews
Greek jobless rate double that of Eurozone: Over 60% of young workers ...RT
Greek GDP Shrank 6% in Fourth Quarter Amid Jobless CrisisBusinessweek
Economic Times -Reuters
all 12 news articles »

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Left-wing Terrorist Attacks and Organized Violence in Greece, 2008-2012


Left-wing Terrorist Attacks and Organized Violence in Greece, 2008-2012
Balkanalysis.com
Greece has a colorful history of domestic terrorism and urban guerrilla warfare, going back to the early 1970′s. This period has seen a multitude of groups active, most of them with leftist or anarchist ties and typically known for small-scale ...


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Turkish-Greek economic ties expand despite debt crisis


Turkish-Greek economic ties expand despite debt crisis
Southeast European Times
Greek exports to Turkey surged to $3.5 billion (2.6 billion euros) in 2012 from $1.1 billion in 2009, according to Turkstat data. During this period, the average year-on-year increase of Greek exports hovered around 50 percent, while Turkish exports ...

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Schumpeter: How to make a killing




IT IS not one of London’s grander clubs. The furniture is dowdy, the carpet threadbare. But who needs grandeur when you have heroism? The Special Forces Club was founded in 1945 by former members of the Special Operations Executive, an organisation that wrought havoc behind enemy lines during the second world war. Today it draws its members from the special forces, the intelligence services and the anti-terrorism police. The walls are lined with photographs of former members. Black frames identify those who were killed in action.The club is a reminder that some things are more important than money. But the world of money is hard to ignore. Harrods, a posh department store, is just around the corner. A Russian oligarch is noisily building a palace across the road. Many members have to think about making a living now that the army is shrinking. They wonder: are the skills that are celebrated inside the club useful in the world outside its windows?Once upon a time business could not get enough of the smell of cordite. Tycoons referred to themselves as “captains of industry” and crafted “strategies” (from the Greek word for “general”) for their troops. They...


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EU migration to Germany: Sprechen Sie job?

DANIEL GÓMEZ GARCIA, aged 23, is the sort of person Europe’s leaders may have had in mind when, on paper at least, they turned the European Union into a single labour market like America’s. Mr Gómez, from Andalusia in Spain, learned a smattering of German in school and passable English while studying in America. But when he came back to Spain he saw that hardly anybody in his class of 80 had a job. “Nothing to do, so let me go to Germany and get the language,” he recalls thinking. In autumn 2012 he took an unpaid four-month internship at his embassy in Berlin and paid for his tiny flat-share by helping a local holiday-rental firm with its Excel spreadsheets. Last month that turned into a low-paying but permanent job as an accountant.




That is how the single market is supposed to work. Spain has a youth unemployment rate of 56%. In Greece it is 58% (see chart). By contrast, Germany has negligible youth unemployment (8%) and a shortage of qualified workers. Theoretically, people should be willing to move from the “crisis countries” to the boom towns, just as the Okies once flocked to California.To some extent this migration is indeed happening. New arrivals in...


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Greece, Italy and Albania sign gas pipeline agreement


Kathimerini

Greece, Italy and Albania sign gas pipeline agreement
Kathimerini
Greece, Italy and Albania signed on Wednesday a trilateral agreement lending state support to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). The project will involve the construction of a natural gas pipeline to carry Azeri gas to Central Europe, on the condition ...


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Op-Ed Contributor: A Very Greek Depression

Like an overwhelming number of Greeks, we are fighting to keep our dignity and avoid the despair enveloping our country.

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Greek Parliament Passes Island Sales and Leasing Law Amendment


Greek Parliament Passes Island Sales and Leasing Law Amendment
Businessweek
23 that his government could sell or lease some Greek islands to boost a state-asset sales plan central to receiving international aid funds. Greece has had two bailouts, the first in May 2010, from the European Union and the International Monetary ...

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Mazower Warns Greece On Golden Dawn


Mazower Warns Greece On Golden Dawn
Greek Reporter
Mazower One of the premier writers of Greek history, Britain's Mark Mazower, told an audience at the American College of Greece that the government is seriously underestimating the threat of the neo-Nazi Golden party becoming a mainstream political force.


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A Very Greek Depression


A Very Greek Depression
New York Times
Athens. LIKE many Greeks caught in the maelstrom of the economic crisis, my wife and I live a day-to-day existence. Since the newspaper where I worked for 23 years (my wife for 17) went out of circulation in December of 2011, we have both been ...


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Greek unemployment rate hits record 27 percent as recession rolls on, poverty ...


Philadelphia Inquirer

Greek unemployment rate hits record 27 percent as recession rolls on, poverty ...
Fox News
ATHENS, Greece – Unemployment in Greece rose to a record 27 percent in November as separate surveys on Thursday showed the country remains stuck in recession and predicted nearly a third of the population would be in poverty by the end of the year.
Greek GDP Shrank 6% in Fourth Quarter Amid Jobless CrisisBusinessweek
Greek unemployment increases to 27%Economic Times
Greek Jobless Rate New Record 27%Greek Reporter
Reuters -Capital.gr (press release) -RTT News
all 12 news articles »

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Greece prepares for more retroactive PV cuts


pv magazine

Greece prepares for more retroactive PV cuts
pv magazine
Greece's Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (YPEKA) is expected to introduce retroactive photovoltaic feed-in tariff cuts to parliament. The goal is to reduce the burgeoning RES Fund deficit, which is forecast to almost triple by the ...


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Greek unemployment hits record as poverty spreads

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Unemployment in Greece rose to a record 27 percent in November as separate surveys on Thursday showed the country remains stuck in recession and predicted nearly a third of the population would be in poverty by the end of the year.

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Eurozone recession deepens as Germany falters





The decline was bigger than the 0.4 percent drop expected in markets and the steepest fall since 2009, when the global economy was in its deepest recession since World War II.

The worry for European policymakers is that output is declining not just in the weaker, debt-laden economies such as Greece and Spain, where governments have been aggressively increasing taxes and cutting spending in order to get a grip on their public finances and relieve the pressure inflicted on them by skeptical investors.

The French government has to keep a tight leash on its finances, unemployment is around 10 percent and its exporters are struggling, not least in the auto sector, with both Peugeot-Citroen and Renault struggling.

"Unfortunately, their positive impact on competitiveness, employment and activity will take time to materialize and will do little to mitigate economic pain in the short term," said Herve Goulletquer, an analyst at Credit Agricole CIB.

Alongside the debt-reduction efforts that governments are pursuing across the eurozone, the region's exporters are also having to contend with a currency that has been rallying on foreign exchange markets, potentially making their products less competitive in the international marketplace.


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Greek GDP Shrank 6% in Fourth Quarter Amid Jobless Crisis


Kathimerini

Greek GDP Shrank 6% in Fourth Quarter Amid Jobless Crisis
Businessweek
Greece's economy (GKGNGDPY) contracted for an 18th straight quarter and the unemployment rate rose to a record, leaving more than six in 10 young Greeks out of work. Gross domestic product declined 6 percent in the three months through December ...
Greek unemployment increases to 27%Economic Times
TABLE-Greek Q4 2012 GDP shrinks 6.0 pct y/y- EurostatReuters
Greek market moves upCapital.gr (press release)
RTT News -Kathimerini
all 8 news articles »

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'Grexit' risk almost eliminated: Greek bank chief


FRANCE 24

'Grexit' risk almost eliminated: Greek bank chief
FRANCE 24
Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos speaks during an interview at his office in Athens on February 12, 2013. The risk of a disorderly Greek eurozone exit has receded substantially, Greece's central banker said on Thursday as he urged for the ...
Greek central bank says 'Grexit' risk almost goneHong Kong Standard

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