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Macro Snapshot — Eurozone unemployment falls to record low; UK balance of payments deficit balloons

RIYADH: Eurozone unemployment fell to a record low in May as the economy continued to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EU’s statistics office Eurostat said on Thursday that unemployment in the 19 countries sharing the euro fell to 6.6 percent of the workforce in May from a revised 6.7 percent in April.

The 6.6 percent rate is the lowest rate since records dating back to 1998, just before the official launch of the euro in January 1999.

UK balance of payments 

Britain racked up a record shortfall in its current account in early 2022, in part due to the soaring cost of its fuel imports, according to data that officials cautioned could be revised.

The balance of payments deficit — a measure of how much the country relies on money from abroad — ballooned to £51.7 billion ($62.8 billion) or 8.3 percent of gross domestic product between January and March.

Data from the Office for National Statistics also showed the increasing strain on households as their real disposable income shrank for the longest period on record.

Portugal’s inflation rise 

Portuguese consumer prices jumped 8.7 percent year-on-year in June, at their fastest pace since December 1992, up from 8 percent in May, flash data from the National Statistics Institute showed.

Core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, rose 6 percent year-on-year, the fastest rate since May 1994, up from 5.6 percent the previous month.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent pressure on energy and food markets has stoked inflation, which was already accelerating as the global economy reopened after the coronavirus pandemic

Hong Kong retail sales fall 

Hong Kong’s May retail sales fell 1.7 percent from a year earlier after a sharp increase the previous month, government data showed.

Sales eased to HK$29.1 billion ($3.71 billion), having jumped 11.7 percent in April. The government said that over April and May together there was a year-on-year increase of 4.7 percent.

(With input from Reuters) 

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