News / Economy

    French Pessimism Holds Back Rise in Eurozone Morale

    French President Francois Hollande looks on during a press conference at the Moncloa palace as part of an Hispano-French summit in Madrid, Nov. 27, 2013.
    French President Francois Hollande looks on during a press conference at the Moncloa palace as part of an Hispano-French summit in Madrid, Nov. 27, 2013.
    Reuters
    Most Europeans felt more optimistic about a recovery in the eurozone in November, but pessimism in France underlined the sluggish performance of the bloc's second-largest economy.
     
    Economic sentiment in the 17 countries using the euro strengthened by 0.8 points to 98.5 in the seventh straight month of gains, according to a European Commission survey on Thursday, beating economists' expectations.
     
    The business climate reading turned positive for the first time since March last year.
     
    But loans to households and companies in the eurozone shrank at a sharper pace in October, European Central Bank data showed, keeping pressure on policymakers to do more to buoy the recovery.
     
    The eurozone is trying to pull out of a deep banking and public debt crisis that nearly shattered the currency area.
     
    Record unemployment and a shortage of bank lending are a serious drag on a recovery that began earlier this year.
     
    But the business survey showed that of the eurozone's five largest economies, only French morale slipped, while sentiment in Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany continued to strengthen.
     
    “The numbers are very encouraging given that in October there were signs that the economic upturn was stalling,” said Sarah Hewin, head of European research at Standard Chartered. “We shouldn't downplay the importance of France, but this suggests momentum is picking up,” she said.
     
    French business activity shrank in November, as high labor costs and a lack of reforms hurt exports.
     
    French pessimism was most notable in the European Commission's measure of eurozone consumer sentiment, which declined this month, halting an upward trend over the past year.
     
    “This was mainly due to a sharp decline registered in France and reflected worsening expectations about the future general economic situation,” said the Commission, the EU executive arm.
     
    Standard & Poor's cut France's credit rating earlier this month by one notch to AA from AA+ and the Commission sees France expanding by 0.2 percent in 2013 and 0.9 percent in 2014.
     
    ECB may still move

    Despite a return to economic growth in the April-to-June period, the economy barely grew in the third quarter and economists say the European Central Bank will have to do more to support growth.
     
    Spain, which emerged from a two-year recession in the July-September period, saw economic sentiment increase by 1.4 points in November.
     
    That was a stronger reading than in Germany, the euro zone's biggest economy, and showed Spain regaining the business dynamism it lost during a decade-long property boom that eventually burst and forced a eurozone bailout of its banks.
     
    Overall, the bloc's services sector registered a nearly three-point jump in November. Confidence in industry also rose in the eurozone, but fell in construction and financial services.
     
    Paris-based think tank the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development called on the ECB last week to emulate U.S.-style quantitative easing, or QE, and the bank's vice president has said all options are open.
     
    Inflation in the 17-nation eurozone fell to its lowest in nearly four years at just 0.7 percent in October, prompting the bank to cut rates to a record low of 0.25 percent.
     
    “This month's rate cut was probably not the final move from the ECB to fight the crisis,” said Peter Vanden Houte at ING.

    You May Like

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8926
    JPY
    USD
    116.68
    GBP
    USD
    0.6871
    CAD
    USD
    1.3751
    INR
    USD
    67.653

    Rates may not be current.