Eurozone Unemployment Finally Slips
The euro remained steady at $1.32 on Thursday morning as the European Central Bank's monthly policy meeting got underway. Recent positive data has given policy makers reason to celebrate as the bloc seems to be turning a corner toward financial stability.
Reuters reported that the eurozone's high unemployment finally fell after more than two years on the rise. The EU statistics agency, Eurostat, announced on Wednesday that the number of jobless Europeans fell by 24,000 in June; the first decrease since April 2011.
Although the slight decrease is good news, many are holding out on celebrating as the bloc's unemployment rate remains extremely high despite the modest fall.
Also putting a damper on the positivity was retail sales data from France, Spain, and power house economy Germany dipped. In Spain, spending slipped for the thirty sixth consecutive month in June. In France, retail sales dropped and fell short of predictions for a rise. German retail sales slid by 1.5 percent in June; the largest fall this year.
The stunted retail sales growth is being attributed to high unemployment and austerity programs. The bloc's domestic demand has been very week as the region tries to repair its broken financial system.
Despite the poor retail sales data, most are expecting the ECB to hold off on a rate cut at this month's meeting. The bank will probably cut rates eventually, but the positive data has given the finance ministers a bit of breathing room.
Investors will be focused on the press conference following the meeting, at which Bank President Mario Draghi is expected to discuss the possibility of publishing the bank's meeting minutes in the future. Draghi has expressed his support of making the bank's meetings more transparent by releasing minutes, but the proposal is likely to meet opposition from policy makers who worry about the political ramifications of exposing their discussions.
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