Daily Digest 4/4 - Spain Warns Of Soaring Debt, China's Rare-Earth Monopoly, IMF Chief Asks U.S. For More Cash
- Spanish unemployment hits record high, adds to deficit woes
- Spain warns of soaring debt
- Greece's debt-to-GDP to rise to 170% - Fitch
- Irish Fiscal Panel:May Need More Cuts To Reach Target
- Italy minister rules out further austerity measures
- Georgetown: Gas prices eat into nonprofits' funding
- Home Prices Seen Dropping 10% in U.S. on Foreclosures: Mortgages
- EU Official: Portugal Could Do Ireland Style Bond Swap
- Portugal’s unemployment rate expected to have reached record level of 15 pct in February
- Pictures: China's Rare-Earth Minerals Monopoly
- IMF chief calls on US for more cash
- National Debt clock at almost $50,000 per citizen
The number of workers registered as without work climbed by 0.82 percent from the previous month to reach 4.75 million, the highest figure since the current statistical series began in 1996, the labour ministry said.
The rise -- the eighth monthly increase in registered unemployed -- comes as Spain heads back into recession with the economy expected by the government to contract by 1.7 percent this year after expanding 0.7 percent in 2011. It makes it harder for the government to meet its goal of bringing the public deficit down to 5.3 percent of output this year and to within a EU-limit of 3.0 percent next year as it causes spending on jobless benefits to rise.
Budget Minister Cristobal Montoro said borrowings of 186.1 billion euros ($A239 billion) this year will take the debt-to-GDP ratio to 79.8 per cent from 68.5 per cent in 2011, well above the EU 60 per cent limit.
"Spain is a critical situation. That is what we're trying to address," he told a news conference after delivering the conservative government's cost-cutting budget for 2012 to parliament.
Greece needs to stay on course with structural and fiscal reforms to bring down debt in order to stay in the euro zone, Fitch Ratings said Tuesday, and stated that continued membership depends on the "effectiveness in laying the foundations for a sustained economic recovery."
Ireland's Fiscal Advisory Council Tuesday said a slower-than-expected growth outlook may oblige the Irish coalition government to bring in EUR400 million more in tax increases and spending cuts to meet a key 2012 budget deficit target required by its bailout lenders.
Ireland is in its second year of a program with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund that needs the government to reduce a budget deficit of about 10% of gross domestic product in 2011 to 8.6% this year. To reach that target, the government announced EUR3.8 billion in austerity measures in December. But slower-than-expected economic growth may require an additional EUR400 million in adjustments for 2012, the fiscal council said.
The Financial Times quoted a confidential European Commission report on Tuesday which suggested that Rome's deficit reduction targets could be at risk from recession and high interest rates and that further consolidation measures might be needed.
Rising gas prices are siphoning money the Food Bank of Delaware would rather spend to feed a record number of low-income families, at-risk kids and impoverished seniors. “We definitely feel the impact,” spokeswoman Kim Kostes said. Every added $1 pumped into its trucks and vans could provide four nutritious meals, she said. Gas in Delaware hit an average of $3.82 per gallon Sunday, and is expected to soon top $4 a gallon.
As many as 1.25 million of America's least cared for homes are headed for auction after a year-long probe into foreclosure practices kept them off the market.
Sales of repossessed properties probably will rise 25 percent this year from 1 million in 2011, according to Moody's Analytics Inc. Prices for the homes could drop as much as 10 percent because they deteriorated as they were held in reserve during investigations by state officials resolved in February, according to RealtyTrac Inc.
It is the first time the European Commission hints at a debt reprofiling for Portugal. Weiss's comment comes right after the European Central Bank Vice President and Portuguese native Vitor Constancio openly mentioned the prospect of a second bailout for the country.
In January Ireland successfully completed the swap of a bond worth EUR3.53 billion that matured in 2014 with one maturing a year later and agreed to pay a higher interest to finalize the transaction that would give it more time to make the payment. At the time, the Irish bond swap was seen as a market-friendly solution to ease resumption of market access. Weiss hinted that Portugal could struggle to convince the market of its creditworthiness in 2013, when the bailout runs out and the country is supposed to start borrowing in the free market again.
The percentage of the active population in Portugal with no employment is expected to have reached a record level of 15 percent in February, according to figures published in Luxembourg by Eurostat, the statistics body of the European Union. Based on figures from the National Statistics Institute and the centres of Portugal’s Institute for Employment and Professional Training (IEFP), Eurostat said that February was the seventh consecutive month in which unemployment increased.
At mines like this one in Jiangxi Province, China produces 95 percent of the world's rare-earth minerals, a key resource for the future of energy. With tongue-twisting names like dysprosium, yttrium, and neodymium, these 17 metals are found in products ranging from cell phones and computers to medical devices and jet engines. They play an important role in the coatings, magnets, and phosphors used in green technology, such as photovoltaic thin film panels, fluorescent lighting, wind turbines, and electric vehicles.
Speaking in the US capital, Lagarde said the 187-nation International Monetary Fund needed more firepower to tackle financial crises raging around the globe, arguing it was in the US interest to pitch in and help Europe. "Americans might ask themselves: why should what happens in the rest of the world concern us? Don't we have our own problems?" she said, according to prepared remarks.
"The answer is simple: In today's world, we cannot afford the luxury of staying in our own mental backyards." "If the European economy falters, the American recovery and American jobs would be in jeopardy. So America has a large stake in how Europe fare -- and how the world fares."
The estimated population of the United States is 312,519,067 so each citizen's share of this debt is
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