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Spain's jobless number dropped below 3 million in May for the first time since early in the 2008/09 global financial crisis, as the economy's recovery from the impact of COVID-19 boosted hirings and pushed many workers out of the shadow economy, Reuters reported. The number of people registering as jobless fell 3.29% from April, leaving 2.92 million people out of work, the lowest number since November 2008, Labour Ministry data showed on Thursday. Spain added 33,366 net jobs during the month, separate data from Social Security Ministry showed.
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Inflation in the euro area in May hit its highest annual level since the creation of the euro currency in 1999, Europe’s statistics agency reported on Tuesday, as a record run-up in energy and food prices stoked by Russia’s war in Ukraine continued to ricochet through the continent’s economy, raising the specter of a lapse into recession, the New York Times reported. Annual inflation in the 19 countries that use the euro currency jumped to a record 8.1 percent in May, from 7.4 percent in April.
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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Wednesday he wants to join employers and labor unions in a “concerted action” to find ways of cushioning the effects of rising prices while preventing a spiral of inflation in Europe’s biggest economy, the Associated Press reported. Germany, like other countries in Europe and beyond, already has seen inflation accelerate sharply since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed up fuel and food prices. An official estimate this week showed the country’s annual inflation rate jumping to 7.9% in May, the highest rate since the winter of 1973-1974.
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Russia cut off gas supplies to more European buyers, stepping up its use of energy as a weapon and sowing further division in the continent, Bloomberg News reported. Gazprom PJSC halted pipeline shipments to the Netherlands and Denmark this week, and then surprised markets by also cutting off a small contract supplying Germany. Shell Plc and wind giant Orsted A/S refused to comply with President Vladimir Putin’s demand for payments to be made in rubles, and Gazprom responded by halting flows.
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Stablecoins that are meant to be an alternative to traditional currencies aren’t steady enough for widespread use by consumers, a Bank of England official said, Bloomberg News reported. Andrew Hauser, executive director for markets at the UK central bank, said the digital currencies such as TerraUSD and Tether lack real-time information about their value and details about how they maintain convertibility. “Stable they are not,” Hauser said Wednesday in a text of remarks prepared for a panel hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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British sporting goods billionaire Mike Ashley swooped on another failing retailer, snapping up online brand Missguided after it entered UK insolvency proceedings, BusinessofFashion.com reported. Ashley’s Frasers Group Plc agreed to pay £20 million ($25 million) for the intellectual property of Missguided and related companies, according to a statement Wednesday. Missguided was founded in 2009 and sells clothes online to young women, targeting them via its 9.2 million Instagram followers.
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Euro-zone inflation accelerated to an all-time high, intensifying the debate at the European Central Bank about how rapidly to raise interest rates from record lows, Bloomberg News reported. Consumer prices jumped 8.1% from a year earlier in May, exceeding the 7.8% median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. The acceleration was driven by food and energy after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent commodity prices soaring. A gauge that excludes volatile items like those rose 3.8%.
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Britain set out sweeping reforms of big company audits on Tuesday after high-profile collapses at builder Carillion and retailer BHS in recent years hit thousands of jobs and raised questions about accounting quality, Reuters reported. The business ministry detailed changes to auditing and corporate governance that will be put into law, though the measures are unlikely to come into force until 2024 or later and smaller firms will be shielded from the new rules.
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Russia's National Settlement Depository (NSD) on Friday successfully paid coupons in foreign currency on two Eurobonds, an NSD representative told Reuters, a move that could mean Russia may have again averted a default, Reuters reported. Russia is on the cusp of a unique kind of debt crisis which investors say would be a first time a major emerging market economy is pushed into a bond default by geopolitics, rather than empty coffers. The NSD said that it paid foreign currency in coupon payouts on Eurobonds maturing in 2026 and 2036, both of which were due on May 27.
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