Jobless total rises
Unemployment in France has edged up again, reaching 10.3 percent in the third quarter. The national statistics agency Insee also said yesterday that youth unemployment jumped more than a percentage point in the quarter to 24.9 percent. The national rate was up from 10.2 percent in the second quarter. While France has avoided the worst of the debt crisis in Europe thus far, its high and rising unemployment rate indicates its economy is also in trouble. French unemployment has been climbing steadily since last year after dropping for a few quarters. It is now higher than at any time since 1999.
Economic growth slows
South Korea’s economy grew 0.1 percent in the third quarter from the previous three months — the slowest pace in more than three years, on shrinking investment and manufacturing, data showed yesterday. The revised figure — compared to 0.2 percent growth predicted by the Bank of Korea in October — was the same as the first quarter of 2009 when the South was hit by the global financial crisis. On a year-on-year basis, GDP for July-September was up 1.5 percent, compared to 2.3 percent on-year gain in the second quarter.
Unemployment rate falls
Australia posted a surprise drop in unemployment to 5.2 percent yesterday, despite data showing the mining-powered economy is cooling due to China’s slowdown. The Australian Bureau of Statistics said the seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell from 5.4 percent in October to a three-month low of 5.2 percent last month, with the economy creating an unexpectedly high 13,900 jobs. Australia’s economy grew 0.5 percent in the three months to September 30 and 3.1 percent year-on-year, compared with rates of 0.6 percent and 3.7 percent three months earlier.
>GM sees record China sales
US auto giant General Motors (GM) said yesterday that its full-year sales in China, the world’s biggest car market, will surpass last year’s 2.55 million and set a new record. In the first 11 months, sales of GM and its ventures in China surged 10.4 percent from a year earlier to 2.59 million vehicles, more than the total for the whole of last year, GM said in a statement. Last month alone, GM sold 260,018 vehicles in China, up 9.7 percent from last year.
S&P lowers credit rating
Standard & Poor’s has lowered Greece’s credit rating to “selective default” in light of its offer to buy back bonds at well below their face value. Greece has announced plans to spend up to US$13 billion on the buyback in a bid to bring its staggering debt load under control. S&P says it sees the buyback as essentially a distressed debt restructuring tantamount to a default. The rating agency says it may raise its long-term credit rating on Greece back to junk-grade “CCC” once the buyback is complete.
NASDAQ welcomes Facebook
Facebook will become part of the NASDAQ 100 index of the largest non-financial companies listed on the electronic exchange, the market operator said on Wednesday. Facebook will join the index on Wednesday, a statement from NASDAQ said. It will replace the IT firm Infosys, which is moving to the New York Stock Exchange. Being part of the index means a number of institutional and portfolio investors will purchase the stock for funds that seek to mirror the market index.