RTTNews - Tuesday, official statistics showed that unemployment in the Eurozone rose to its highest level in nearly ten years in April as the global economic downturn left several Europeans without work.

In other important news from the region, the Swiss economy contracted the most since 1992 as sluggish global demand continued to hurt the country's exports.

Eurozone

The Luxembourg-based statistical office Eurostat said the seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose to 9.2% in April from 8.9% recorded in March. This is the highest rate since September 1999 and a touch higher than the 9.1% expected. The number of unemployed persons increased by 396,000 to 14.58 million in April from 14.18 million in March.

The jobless rate for the EU27 stood at 8.6% in April, the highest since January 2006 and up from 8.4% in March. The rate was 6.8% in April 2008.

Elsewhere, a report by Spain's labor ministry said the number of unemployed persons decreased by 24,741 to 3.6 million in May from the preceding month, representing the first decline in 14 months.

The French statistical office INSEE announced that industrial producer prices for the domestic market declined 6.4% year-over-year in April, compared with a 5.5% fall in the previous month. The April producer prices came in line with economists' expectations.

The Statistical Service of the Republic of Cyprus revealed that the general government deficit stood at 0.8% of GDP in the first quarter, compared to a surplus, which was 0.5% of GDP in the previous year.

Irish consumer confidence dropped in May to 45.5 from 46.8 in April, results of a survey conducted by KBC Bank Ireland and the Economic and Social Research Institute showed.

Rest of Europe

U.K.'s Select Committee on Economic Affairs of the House of Lords urged the government to return the responsibility for macro-prudential supervision to the Bank of England as the current tripartite framework of regulation and supervision failed to mitigate the financial crisis.

On the data front, the Bank of England said the number of loans approved for house purchases in the U.K. increased to 43,201 in April from 40,038 in March. The April level was higher than the previous six months average of 33,845 and 41,000 expected by economists.

Further, the British central bank upwardly revised UK's M4 money supply growth for April to 0.2% from 0.1% reported initially. In March, money supply had grown 0.3%.

The Confederation of British Industry said shortage of trade credit insurance remains a worry. However, deterioration in credit conditions slowed further over the last three months and expects it to stabilize in the months ahead, a survey by the industry lobby found.

Data released by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs or SECO showed that the Swiss gross domestic product or GDP fell 0.8% sequentially in the first quarter following a downwardly revised 0.6% contraction in the fourth quarter. That was the worst performance since the final quarter of 1992. Meanwhile, economists had forecast the economy to shrink 1.5%. GDP declined for the third straight quarter, while two consecutive quarters of negative GDP defines a recession.

The Credit Suisse said the SVME purchasing managers' index for Switzerland rose to 39.8 in May from 34.7 in April, the strongest increase since September 2005. Economists had forecast a reading of 36.5.

The number of Norwegian business leaders expecting their companies' profitability to increase over the next 12 months increased in the second quarter compared to the first quarter, results of a quarterly survey carried out by the Perduco for the Norges Bank showed.

Norway's consumer confidence index rose to minus 3.7 in the second quarter from a revised minus 8.3 in the first quarter, the Saving Banks Association said. Economists had expected the index to rise to minus 5 from the initial first quarter reading of minus 11.1.

Statistics Norway said the twelve-month growth in the C2 credit indicator was 8% in April, down from 8.8% in March.

The Financial Stability Report from the Riksbank said the loan losses of major Swedish banks would increase over the coming years and the loan losses in 2009 and 2010 would total SEK 170 billion.

Statistics Denmark said the retail sales volume fell a seasonally adjusted 0.6% month-on-month in April, after a 0.1% rise in the previous month.

Romania's National Institute of Statistics said in a report that the producer price index or PPI rose 2.5% year-over-year in April, slower than the 3.9% increase in the previous month.

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