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ECONOMICS – FINANCE – WORLD NEWS – GREEK DEBT

Welcome back to crisis-land

Returning to London after a week of absence from European drama and the news around it is like coming back to watching a TV show after missing four episodes: The plot is still kind of the same but there’s a general “wait, what?!” feeling to it and someone has a new haircut. So here we go…

The eurogroup is getting together in lovely Copenhagen today, a city that is known to for its decisive and meaningful political gatherings ever since the climate summit in 2009… Anyway, the finance ministers decided to increase the lending capacities of Europe’s numerous funds and mechanisms, the EFSF, ESM and EFSM. Here is the official statement. An increase in fire power could lead to more commitments from the IMF, which will be necessary when Spain decides to blow up completely.

Speaking of which, it’s budget day in Spain today. Unsurprisingly, there will be more austerity measures, which could push the country in a deeper recessionBloomberg says it’s the most austere budget since the end of Franco’s dictatorship in 1978. More details to the budget will be released in the afternoon.

Otherwise, German unemployment figures showed a new post-reunification low yesterday. The seasonally adjusted number of people out of work reads 2.84 million, or 6.7%read article

On the other side of the pond, US unemployment claims fell to their lowest rate since April 2008, boosting consumer confidence. The overall unemployment rate is 8.3%read article

The UK saw a sudden and somewhat unexpected 1% drop in house prices in March (according to Nationwide according to Reuters), marking the largest price decrease in the past two years. Since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, house prices in the UK have dropped by 20%, central London being the exception to the rule. One Hyde Park is the most expensive residential development in the UK, and one of the most expensive in the world.

Related: the Economist’s global house price indicator, a comparative interactive infographic of house prices and rents. see chart 

Have a good weekend!

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