Europe

German Unemployment Falls in December

German unemployment fell in December, Labour Office figures showed on Tuesday, with the labour market overall being only moderately affected by the war in Ukraine last year, Reuters reported. The Federal Labour Office said the number of people out of work decreased by 13,000 in seasonally adjusted terms to 2.52 million. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected that figure to rise by 15,000. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate remained stable at 5.5%.
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The number of people registering as jobless in Spain fell slightly in December from a month earlier, ending 2022 at a 15-year low, data from the Labour Ministry showed on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The number of jobless fell by 1.52%, or by 43,727 people, leaving 2.84 million people out of work. It is the lowest rate since 2007, when 2.2 million were out of work. "This data shows that labour protection measures are working," Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz said in a post on Twitter.
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Spanish retail sales fell 0.6% in November from a year earlier on a seasonally and calendar-adjusted basis, after rising 1.0% in October, the National Statistics Institute (INE) said on Thursday, Reuters reported. As shoppers grapple with the rising cost of living exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, food sales in Spain recorded an annual decrease of 3.6% in November, INE said. Meanwhile, sales of other goods grew 0.5% year-on-year.
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The Russian rouble pared losses to gain on Thursday after slumping to an eight-month low against the dollar in early trade, struggling under the weight of expectations that sanctions on Russian oil and gas may limit export revenues, Reuters reported. Despite recovering ground in another volatile session, the rouble has still lost more than 13% to the dollar since a Western price cap on Russian oil exports came into force on Dec. 5. By 0957 GMT, the rouble was 0.8% stronger against the dollar at 71.64 , having earlier touched 72.9175, its weakest since April 27.
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Ministers are urging the chancellor to provide £300m of taxpayers' money to avert the closure of British Steel’s two blast furnaces – a move that would trigger the loss of thousands of industrial jobs in northern England. Sky News has learnt that Grant Shapps, the business secretary, and Michael Gove, the levelling-up secretary, wrote to Jeremy Hunt this month to warn that the demise of British Steel could cost the government up to £1bn in decommissioning and other liabilities.
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A Swiss court has granted a six-month “stay of bankruptcy” to the operating company for the never-opened Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was built to bring Russian gas to Germany but put on ice shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, ABC News reported. The company's stay was extended from Jan. 10 through July 10 by a regional court in the Swiss canton (state) of Zug, according to a notice published Wednesday in the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce. Nord Stream 2 AG, a subsidiary of Russia’s Gazprom, is based in Zug.

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Crypto miner Argo Blockchain said on Wednesday it will sell its mining facility Helios for $65 million and refinance a new asset-backed loan as it seeks to avoid bankruptcy, sending its London-listed shares soaring, Reuters reported. Argo, which earlier this month warned that it might have to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to insufficient cash, said the deals will allow the company to continue its operations.

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The head of Russia's state-controlled airline Aeroflot called on the Russian government to "balance the interests" of Russian and foreign airlines in order to support the domestic aviation sector, in an interview with Russian news site RBC published on Wednesday, Reuters reported. In the interview, Aeroflot CEO Sergei Alexandrovsky said it is "important that the state balances the interests of Russian and international carriers.

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ExxonMobil is suing the EU in a bid to force it to scrap the bloc’s new windfall tax on oil groups, arguing Brussels exceeded its legal authority by imposing the levy, the Irish Times reported. The lawsuit is the most significant response yet against the tax from the oil industry, which has been targeted by western governments amid a surge in energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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The last Belgian locations of the international cash-and-carry store Makro will close their doors forever on Friday, RTL Info reports, the Brussels Times reported. In total, 1,300 employees will lose their jobs. The Makro group has been teetering on the verge of bankruptcy for many months. Following the legal reorganization in June, all of the company’s real estate assets were transferred to German rival Metro. Metro was recently bought out by Dutch retail group Sligro, saving nine out of eleven of the Makro locations and 500 jobs.

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