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Macro Chatter: Every day does bring another downgrade to Europe

Around the world in business: Spain's latest credit rating hit, Greece's rising unemployment and a rap message on European austerity.
Spanish and eu flags Enlarge
The Spanish and European Union flags blow together in the wind in Madrid, Spain. (Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

Need to know:

If it seems like every day brings another downgrade in Europe, it's because it pretty much does.

Spain's credit rating slid another three notches Wednesday as Moody's cut it to just above junk status. That status, however, may not last long. Spain is already on the list of countries facing further downgrades by Moody's.

Spain's borrowing costs also have been rising, and a $125 billion bank rescue plan hasn't done much to calm the inSpainity.

Want to know: 

The Greek unemployment rate has risen to a fresh record. 

Nearly one in four Greeks were jobless in the first quarter, Dow Jones Newswires reported. Greek unemployment hit 22.6 percent, up nearly two percentage points from the previous quarter. 

More than half of all unemployed Greeks have been looking for work for more than a year. 

Dull but important: 

JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon told lawmakers he put a little too much faith in a key subordinates, leading to more than $2 billion in losses that have put the vocal critic of financial reform in the congressional hot seat.

Dimon said the company's since ousted chief investment officer had made so much money for the bank in the past that a trading strategy that "violated common sense" wasn't questioned.

He said risk-monitoring systems and JPM executives failed to correctly assess risks of a London derivatives portfolio. He also said that portion of JPMorgan's business wasn't scrutinized in the same way other lines of business are, Bloomberg reported.

Dimon, of course, is one of the loudest voices against the government increasing its scrutiny on the trading practices of big banks like his. 

Just because:

China's yuan is continuing to developing a larger presence outside of the country's borders. 

Hong Kong's central bank plans to begin providing yuan loans to city banks this week, Financial Times reported. The one-week loans will be offered in exchange for "high-quality" collateral like Chinese government securities. 

Strange but true: 

A rapper who shares a name with a well-known brand of emergency contraception has a whole lot to say about the state of the UK economy.

My colleague Barry Neild has the story of Ben Drew, a.k.a. Plan B, a Brit who is becoming the voice of austerity generation.

Plan B's latest single calls out the government for neglecting the country's urban poor and helping to trigger riots across London last summer. And Plan B's got something that's hard to find even on MTV these days: a stellar music video.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/macro/macro-chatter-every-day-does-bring-another-downgrade-europe