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Euro zone economy shrank 0.3 percent year/year in third quarter: Eurostat

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The euro zone economy shrank 0.3 percent year on year in the third quarter, less than the 0.4 percent contraction estimated earlier, the European Union's Statistics Office said on Friday in its third and final revision of the data. Eurostat confirmed that quarter-on-quarter, the economy of the then 17 countries sharing the euro grew 0.1 percent in the three months to September after a 0.3 percent expansion in the second quarter. (Reporting by Martin Santa; Editing by John Stonestreet)

Irish unemployment falls further after bailout exit

The number of people claiming unemployment benefit in Ireland dropped again last month, data showed on Wednesday, in a boost to the eurozone country one month after it emerged from a bailout programme. The standardised unemployment rate eased to 12.4 percent in December, down from 12.5 percent in November, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) revealed in a statement. Ireland became the first of the rescued eurozone countries to exit its bailout programme on December 15, after years of spending cuts and tax rises.

Eurozone November unemployment 12.1%, unchanged

The eurozone unemployment rate continued near record highs at 12.1 percent in November, unchanged from the October level, as a modest recovery produced few new jobs, official data showed on Wednesday. There were about 19.24 million jobless in the eurozone in November, up 4,000 from October but soaring by 452,000 compared with November 2012 as the debt crisis peaked, the Eurostat statistics agency said. Eurozone unemployment hit a record 12.2 percent in September but this figure was subsequently revised down to 12.1 percent.

Eurozone November unemployment 12.1%, unchanged

The eurozone unemployment rate continued near record highs at 12.1 percent in November, unchanged from the October level, as a modest recovery produced few new jobs, official data showed on Wednesday. There were about 19.24 million jobless in the eurozone in November, up 4,000 from October but soaring 452,000 compared with November 2012 as the debt crisis peaked, the Eurostat statistics agency said. bmm/ccr/hd

Eurozone November unemployment 12.1%, unchanged

The eurozone unemployment rate continued near record highs at 12.1 percent in November, unchanged from the October level, as a modest recovery produced few new jobs, official data showed on Wednesday. There were about 19.24 million jobless in the eurozone in November, up 4,000 from October but soaring 452,000 compared with November 2012 as the debt crisis peaked, the Eurostat statistics agency said. bmm/ccr/hd

EU leaders mull closer defence ties after key bank deal

European leaders gathered Thursday at a summit set to deepen EU integration and put four years of debilitating economic crises behind with a freshly sealed historic banking union deal. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, just beginning a fresh four-year mandate, arrived at the meeting signalling her determination for greater cooperation, notably on defence. But British Prime Minister David Cameron scoffed at any idea the EU should have its own armed forces, setting the stage for a fiery debate at the two-day meeting.

EU finance ministers reach banking union deal

EU finance ministers Wednesday reached a banking union accord which will hand Brussels unprecedented new powers to prevent failing banks from wrecking the economy, official sources said. "We have an accord," a French finance ministry source said after another long day of hard talks marked by sharp differences over key elements of the new bank regulatory system. "Momentous day for #bankingunion," EU Financial Markets Commissioner Michel Barnier said in a tweeted message.

EU-IMF creditors approve Portugal bailout plan

Portugal's international lenders, the EU and the IMF, approved the country's performance under its bailout agreement six months before the programme is set to end, the government said Monday. The green light from the EU-IMF inspection team paves the way for the indebted eurozone nation to receive the next tranche of financial aid from its 78-billion-euro bailout. bh/ds/arp

Spain's public debt hits new record in third quarter

Spain's public debt, which has risen unchecked for the past five years of economic crisis, hit a new record of 93.4 percent of gross domestic product in the third quarter, the Bank of Spain said Friday. Spain's centre-right government, which last month announced it would ease its austerity reforms over the coming two years since the economy appears to be emerging from recession, has set a year-end debt-to-GDP target of 94.2 percent. It sees the debt-to-GDP ratio peaking at 101.13 percent in 2015 before easing slightly to 101.09 percent in 2016.

Cyprus economy to shrink 20% before recovering in 2017

Cyprus's bailed out economy is not expected to see any recovery until 2017 when GDP will have contracted by a cumulative 20 percent, auditors Ernst and Young said Thursday. The EY forecast was far bleaker than that of international lenders who extended the island 10 billion euros ($13 billion) in emergency loans in March in return for an unprecedented eurozone haircut on bank deposits and a raft of painful austerity measures.
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