Economy

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The digital currency Bitcoin has reached new highs this week. Having hit the $3,000 mark earlier this month, the cryptocurrency climbed past $4,000 for the first time on Sunday. The bitcoin price has more than quadrupled since January 1, putting even the best-performing S&P 500 stocks to shame. Bitcoin’s market capitalization has risen to more than $70 billion, cementing its position as the largest cryptocurrency ahead of Ethereum with a market cap just shy of $30 billion.

In its relatively short lifetime (bitcoin was introduced in 2009), the cryptocurrency has had its ups and downs, but what is driving this year’s exceptional rally? “Bitcoin is benefitting from geopolitical tensions – trading in Japan and Korea has increased significantly over the last few months,” Brian Kelly, head of BKCM, which runs a digital asset strategy, said in an email to CNBC. Bitcoin, like gold, is widely considered a safe-haven for investors worried about the stability of financial markets amid rising tensions between North Korea and the United States.

Eager investors should be careful however, as the cryptocurrency has proven highly volatile in the past. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the bitcoin price dropped to $1,000 by the end of the year, I wouldn’t be surprised if it climbed to $10,000 either”, financial analyst Markus Miller, warns of the currency’s unpredictability on German news channel n-tv. As our chart illustrates, the gold price is much more stable than the price of a bitcoin, making the precious metal the safer haven when in doubt.

source: statista

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Greek inflation remains unchanged at 0.9 percent in July 2017, compared with June, Eurostat data showed on Thursday.

In the Eurozone, annual inflation remained stable at 1.3 percent in July, compared with last month. In July 2016 the rate was 0.2 percent. European Union annual inflation was 1.5 percent in July, also stable compared to June.

The lowest annual rates were registered in Ireland (-0.2%), Cyprus (-0.1%), Bulgaria and Finland (both 0.6%), while the highest annual rates were recorded in Lithuania (4.1%), Estonia (3.9%), Latvia and the United Kingdom (both 2.6%). Compared with June 2017, annual inflation fell in four member-states, remained stable in eight and rose in sixteen.

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Due to the fact that social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are inaccessible in China, there exists a whole ecosystem of social networking and messaging platforms that are immensely popular in and around China but hardly known anywhere else in the world.

Platforms such as QQ, Qzone and WeChat in particular have hundreds of millions of users and, just as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, they’re all owned by the same company. Their parent company Tencent became China’s largest tech company in terms of market capitalization last year, and is currently going back and forth with e-commerce behemoth Alibaba in the race for this title.

As our chart illustrates, there’s no need for Tencent to shy away from comparisons with the world’s largest social networking company. While Tencent’s social networking and messaging services have yet to reach the billion-user mark, its financial results are nearly on par with Facebook’s. In fact, until as recently as 2015, Tencent was more profitable than Facebook, and has been for many years prior. From an investing standpoint, both companies have been doing great over the past 12 months: Tencent’s stock price soared more than 60 percent since August 2016, Facebook’s is up by 35 percent.

source: statista

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Main image:  Many expected the economic story of 2017 to be a boom in American growth, ignited by Donald Trump’s agenda of tax cuts, deregulation and infrastructure spending. Yet Europe is the region that has outperformed. The International Monetary Fund recently raised its growth forecasts for the euro zone for 2017 and 2018, while cutting its estimates for America. Business confidence in Europe, as measured by Eurostat’s economic-sentiment index, is at its highest point in over a decade. Unemployment stands at 7.7%, its lowest level since 2008. Since mid-2015, output in the continent has expanded by 2% per year—faster than America’s 1.7% yearly growth rate over the same period. According to figures released on August 16th, gross domestic product in Europe grew by a better-than-expected 2.3% in the second quarter compared with the same period in 2016. Europe’s recovery comes after years of turbulence. A new paper by researchers at the European Central Bank attempts to document these periods of market distress in the hopes of better predicting them in the future. In all, the authors find that the European Union’s 28 member states (plus Norway) have collectively suffered 50 crises since 1970, including 22 since 2007. The financial turmoil peaked in 2009, when 18 countries were experiencing ...

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The head of the Single Social Security Entity (EFKA), Thanassis Bakalexis, has told Kathimerini in an interview that he believes the organization is on the right track after encountering serious problems when it went into operation at the beginning of this year following the merger of several other funds.

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Click here to see the original post from Business | ekathimerini.com

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In a bid to close in on some 3.8 million taxpayers who owe an estimated total of 95 billion euros in overdue debts to the Greek state, the Independent Authority for Public Revenue is to intensify inspections on all those whose arrears exceed 500 euros, accessing their bank accounts and Land Register details.

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Click here to see the original post from Business | ekathimerini.com

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Greece can be a success story if it sticks to agreed reforms, European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Managing Director Klaus Regling has said, adding that eurozone countries could agree on debt relief measures for Greece, if necessary, after August 2018 provided that Athens has seen through its commitments.

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There was a changing of the guard at the Thessaloniki Urban Transport Organization (OASTH) on Thursday but it appears that the denunciation of the government’s decision to remove the existing board and bring the firm under public control isn’t going to stop anytime soon.

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The Greek government doesn’t question the quality of the statistical data on which the country’s adjustment program is based on, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos was quoted as telling the German newspaper Die Zeit, commenting on an article about the legal saga involving former statistics chief Andreas Georgiou.

“It would be inappropriate for the Finance Minister to comment on a court decision and in any case the verdict against Mr Georgiou did not concern the improper compilation of statistics but a minor matter which concerned the process. Consequently, the quality of the program’s statistics is not disputed by anyone and definitely not by the Greek government,” he added.

In the same press report, the European central Bank expressed again its full support for the data provided by ELSTAT since 2010 and urged the Greek government to protect the agency’s independence.

“The ECB has full confidence in the statistics released by ELSTAT since 2010 and reiterates that it is essential for the Greek authorities to protect the independence and the credibility of ELSTAT,” a spokesperson reportedly told Die Zeit.

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Print section Print Rubric:  The reach for yield becomes quite a stretch Print Headline:  Still crazy after falling yields Print Fly Title:  Risky sovereign bonds UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  The death of the internal combustion engine Fly Title:  Still crazy after falling yields WHERE can you find a 7% interest rate on a sovereign dollar-bond? You would have to take a time-machine to the mid-1990s to find such a yield on a ten-year American Treasury. Alternatively, you could slip back a few days to August 2nd and bid for the $1bn of five-year bonds sold by the government of Iraq. The yield was expected to be 7%, but it was trimmed to 6.75% once orders rose above $6bn. Such eagerness for hard-currency debt from a country still reeling from a civil war shows just how far bond investors will now go to get a decent yield. Oversubscribed issues for risky sovereign bonds have become almost normal. The Iraqi sale came ...

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Click here to see the original post from Greece

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Print section Print Rubric:  The reach for yield becomes quite a stretch Print Headline:  Still crazy after falling yields Print Fly Title:  Risky sovereign bonds UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  The death of the internal combustion engine Fly Title:  Still crazy after falling yields WHERE can you find a 7% interest rate on a sovereign dollar-bond? You would have to take a time-machine to the mid-1990s to find such a yield on a ten-year American Treasury. Alternatively, you could slip back a few days to August 2nd and bid for the $1bn of five-year bonds sold by the government of Iraq. The yield was expected to be 7%, but it was trimmed to 6.75% once orders rose above $6bn. Such eagerness for hard-currency debt from a country still reeling from a civil war shows just how far bond investors will now go to get a decent yield. Oversubscribed issues for risky sovereign bonds have become almost normal. The Iraqi sale came ...

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Greece's jobless rate dropped slightly to 21.7 percent in May from an upwardly revised 21.8 percent in the previous month, statistics agency ELSTAT said on Thursday, but the rate remains the eurozone's highest.

The seasonally adjusted data showed that the number of officially unemployed reached 1.03 million people. Hardest hit were young people aged 15 to 24 years, with their jobless rate dropping to 44.4 percent from 49.7 percent in May last year.

Greece's jobless rate hit a record high of 27.9 percent in September 2013. It has come down from record highs but remains more than double the eurozone's average.

Unemployment in the 19 countries sharing the euro fell to 9.1 percent in June from a downwardly revised 9.2 percent in May, reaching its lowest level since February 2009.

Greece's economy expanded in the first three months of 2017. Economic output grew 0.4 percent compared to the final quarter of 2016. [Reuters]

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Click here to see the original post from Business | ekathimerini.com

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Greece's jobless rate dropped slightly to 21.7 percent in May from an upwardly revised 21.8 percent in the previous month, statistics agency ELSTAT said on Thursday, but the rate remains the eurozone's highest.

The seasonally adjusted data showed that the number of officially unemployed reached 1.03 million people. Hardest hit were young people aged 15 to 24 years, with their jobless rate dropping to 44.4 percent from 49.7 percent in May last year.

Greece's jobless rate hit a record high of 27.9 percent in September 2013. It has come down from record highs but remains more than double the eurozone's average.

Unemployment in the 19 countries sharing the euro fell to 9.1 percent in June from a downwardly revised 9.2 percent in May, reaching its lowest level since February 2009.

Greece's economy expanded in the first three months of 2017. Economic output grew 0.4 percent compared to the final quarter of 2016. [Reuters]

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Click here to see the original post from Business | ekathimerini.com

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Salaried workers and self-employed Greeks who started working from January 1993 onward now have to pay a 4 percent contribution from their income toward the Unified Supplementary Insurance and One-Off Benefits Fund (ETEAP), according to a circular issued on Tuesday by Deputy Labor Minister Tasos Petropoulos.

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Click here to see the original post from Business | ekathimerini.com