Europe economic news
Added On February 17, 2017
More economic news from the EU..
Official data show Britain's unemployment rate has fallen to 4.8 percent, the lowest figure since 2005.
UK UNEMPLOYMENT LOWEST SINCE 2005 ***
There are 1.60 million unemployed people, 97,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
The new figures show 877,000 jobseekers are men, while 720,000 of those unemployed are women. Both figures are down from a year earlier.
The Office for National Statistics said the unemployment rate of 4.8 percent is down from 5.1 percent in the previous year.
It has not been lower since 2005.
The employment rate among working-age people, between 16 and 64, reached 74.6 percent. This is the highest level since similar records began in 1971.
Reports also showed there are nearly 32 million people in work, 302,000 more than in the previous year.
Among those employed, 23.29 million people are working full-time, with 8.55 million people in part-time jobs.
Figures showed 5.44 million people were employed in the public sector in September 2016.
This was 12,000 more than the numbers June 2016, but 10,000 fewer than in the previous year.
ITALY'S GDP GROWTH EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS****
Italy's GDP experienced moderate growth in 2016, slightly exceeding official expectations.
The National Institute of Statistics said the output grew by 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter. It also increased by 1.1 percent compared to the same quarter in 2015.
The GDP increased by 0.9 percent overall for the whole of 2016. The Italian government posted a conservative 0.8 percent growth last year.
In 2015, the Italian economy grew by 0.7 percent.
The increase of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2016 was mainly due to a positive domestic demand. However, the net impact of foreign demand was slightly negative.
Reports also confirmed output grew by 0.3 percent in the third quarter of 2016 compared to the second quarter. The figure was revised upwards to 1.1 percent in the third quarter on an annual basis.
Despite exceeding expectations, the Italian economy was confirmed as one of the slowest among Western and European Union countries in terms of growth.
PORTUGUESE LEADERS UPBEAT OVER BUDGET DEFICIT ***
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said the country can now face 2017 with more confidence. The announcement comes after the finance ministry confirmed the budget deficit for 2016 will not exceed 2.1 percent of GDP.
Costa said this means a more promising result than what was presented by the government at the beginning of 2016.
The Portuguese National Statistics Institute said Portugal's GDP grew an average of 1.4 percent in 2016.
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa also expressed his optimism about the European Commission's forecast.
The leader said the Portuguese government and the opposition should be pleased the 2016 deficit will not surpass 2.1 percent of GDP. He added it was good news for Portugal's future.
IRELAND'S PM REJECTS SUGGESTION OF EXITING EU ***
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said he rejects any suggestion that Ireland should leave the EU.
Kenny said EU membership has brought Ireland enormous benefits and that the Irish people have consistently endorsed that membership.
He also said EU membership has been central to the success of Ireland's open, competitive economy. He sees Ireland's membership of the single market and the customs union as absolutely fundamental to its economic strategy.
Kenny said the EU has also been the cornerstone of much of the social progress which Ireland has experienced over the last generation.
The membership of the EU also allows Ireland to address common problems in a holistic way. These include international peace and security, climate change, terrorism and migration.
SPAIN'S CONSUMER PRICES RISE IN JANUARY ***
The Consumer Price Index published Wednesday showed Spain's consumer prices rose by three percent in January, compared to the same month in the previous year.
It also highlighted Spain's consumer prices have been rising for five consecutive months year-on-year. January's figure is the highest since October, 2012.
Prices of items related to housing rose by 7.4 percent in January on a year-on-year basis. This was due to higher electricity prices. This contrasted with figures in January 2016 when prices related to housing fell by 6 percent year-on-year.
Prices of electricity shot up in Spain at the beginning of the year mainly due to a cold snap, which caused an increase in demand.
Prices of transport rose by 7.6 percent because of higher fuel prices. This again contrasted with figures from January 2016, when transport prices fell by 1.9 percent year-on-year.
Prices of other goods and services rose by 1.4 percent in January year-on-year. Prices related to communications increased by 2.6 percent.
Conversely, consumer prices fell by 0.5 percent from December to January. Prices of clothes and shoes fell by 15.3 percent due to the Christmas sales period. Prices relating to leisure and culture decreased by 1.5 percent.