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US Unemployment Claims Increase, Spain and Germany’s Inflations Slow Down

Shemesh Shahar
Latest News
March 31 2023 08:06AM

China Trade Pact in Danger

Ahead of her visit to China next week, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, urged for a more forceful approach towards China. She called for stricter controls over trade in sectors with military importance, such as AI, and hinted that the EU-China commercial pact might be abandoned.

US Unemployment Claims Increase

The latest data from the US Labor Department showed an increase in initial unemployment claims by 7,000 to 198,000 for the week ended March 25. Although this is the first increase in three weeks, the US labor market remains strong, with employers reluctant to lay off employees. The median forecast of economists for the week was 196,000 applications.

Spain’s Inflation Slows Down

Spain’s rate of inflation slowed down to 3.1% Year-on-year in March, nearly half of the previous month’s figure. The decline was primarily due to lower energy prices, which have become cheaper than before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, indicating a drop in inflation across Europe. However, core inflation, which excludes volatile food and fuel prices, remained high at 7.5% Year-on-year.

German Inflation Figures Disappoint

German inflation figures showed a smaller fall than expected in March despite the significant drop in energy costs, dampening hopes of a swift easing of broader price pressures across the eurozone. Year-on-year German consumer prices increased by 7.8%, compared to the previous month’s rate of 9.3%. However, it was higher than the 7.5% expected by economists polled by Reuters.

EU Agrees to New Targets

The EU has agreed to new targets for renewable energy and reached a compromise after France’s push for nuclear energy inclusion in countries’ efforts to reach those targets. The overall binding target of renewable energy consumed in the EU will increase to 42.5% by 2030, with an “indicative” target of reaching 45% by the end of the decade. Negotiators from member states and the European parliament agreed on a limited concession that counts nuclear power towards the target for industry.

WSJ Reporter Detained in Russia

Russia’s security service detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich on suspicion of spying, the first arrest of a foreign journalist since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The Federal Security Service alleged that Gershkovich, a US national, was “suspected of espionage in the interests of the American government.” This arrest comes as Vladimir Putin’s government increases pressure on journalists and hostility to the West amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

US Calls for Tighter Banking Rules

In the wake of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is calling for regulators to tighten banking rules, citing the recent turmoil as evidence that efforts to bolster the financial system are incomplete. Speaking on Thursday, Yellen questioned the adequacy of the regulatory system she helped build after the 2008 financial crisis to protect financial stability. Regulators extended emergency assistance to banks and stepped in to protect all depositors at SVB and Signature.

US Big Cities See Fewer Movers

According to new census data, big cities in the US lost fewer residents last year, with more immigrants moving in, fewer deaths, and more babies born in those areas. The suburbs of big cities and small to medium metropolitan areas still claimed most of the country’s growth. Rural areas and small towns remained almost unchanged. Large urban counties saw an estimated net loss of over 800,000 movers to the rest of the country, an improvement from a 1.2 million drop in the preceding year.

Macron Criticizes Pension Reform Protests

French President Emmanuel Macron criticized the mounting violence at recent protests against his plan to reform the pension system, calling for opposition political leaders to condemn it. Speaking during a trip to the Alps, he stated that “violence is becoming a sort of habit among some people” and that “nothing justifies violence in a democratic society.”