Entries in Europe (30)


Euro Zone Sees End to Six Quarters of Recession

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After six consecutive quarters of economic contraction, the European Union's combined gross domestic product rose in the most recent quarter.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the combined GDP of the European Union's 17 members was 0.3 percent higher than the first three months of this year. While the numbers were still less than the second quarter last year, this quarter saw the fastest quarterly expansion since 2011.

The figures mark an end to the longest European recession on record.

Portugal saw the greatest degree of expansion, 1.1 percent, the first economic expansion since 2010. Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Finland and Slovakia also saw economic growth, says the Journal.

Italy, Spain and the Netherlands saw economic declines, but by a smaller amount than last quarter. Cyprus saw the largest decline.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Hotel Rates Drop in 20 European Destinations

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Travelers know that fall is one of the best times to visit Europe: It's cheaper than summer, less crowded than summer and still-great weather for sightseeing.

But some experts say this fall in particular is ripe for deals in Europe.  It may in fact be the best time for Americans to visit Europe in years.

Hotel prices across the continent are down -- in some places, close to 40 percent compared to last fall.  Pierre-Etienne Chartier, vice president of the Hotwire Group, said this fall's hotel rates are the lowest in years.

According to Hotwire booking data, 20 of Europe's most popular destinations have had a drop in hotel rates compared to last year, three-quarters of those in the double-digits.  Cities like Prague, Geneva and Budapest are up to 37 percent less expensive this year than last.

Popular European cities like Berlin, Paris, Barcelona and Rome are seeing their lowest hotel prices on Hotwire in more than five years.  Average room rates in Prague, Budapest, Glasgow, Seville, Lisbon, Dublin, Valencia and Athens are all under $100 per night.

Chartier said the drop in prices could be, at least in part, attributed to the summer games.  It wasn't just London that created more hotel rooms.  Nearby European cities, anticipating an influx of travelers pre- and post-Olympics did the same -- to the tune of 11,000 rooms.  Those travelers didn't materialize and now the hotels are hoping to fill rooms through discounting.

Another reason for the price slashing is the European debt crisis. Locals, said Chartier, are being "more frugal with their money and discretionary spending."  With fewer Europeans traveling domestically, more hotel rooms are sitting empty, prompting hoteliers to discount room rates on travel booking sites.

For the past few years, Americans, Chartier said, have been in recovery mode and were starting to increase their spending. "Now," he said, "that trend is reversing."

But for Americans who do want to travel to Europe, "It's been a while since the opportunities were this good," Chartier said.

Airfare too, is showing signs of softness.  Hotwire said airfare to Europe is about level with last year, though a few destinations are cheaper.  Berlin, Dublin, Helsinki and Valencia are all cheaper to fly to this fall than last.

Travelocity air booking data showed that overall, airfare from the U.S. to Western Europe is virtually unchanged from last fall. Travelers can expect to pay about $1,060 round-trip, including taxes. Airfare is about 20 percent less now than it was during the summer months.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Stocks Down Amid Bleak Economic Prospects

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As fears about Europe persist, U.S. stock markets followed a selloff in Europe today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending the day at 12,502.66, down 138.12 points, or 1.09 percent.

There was more troubling news out of Europe today — Greece’s new finance minister had to step down because of an illness, Cyprus asked for a bailout, Spain’s banking crisis remains murky and expectations are low that European leaders will have any grand plan to deal with all of this.

The S&P 500 and NASDAQ ended the day lower as well.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Geithner ‘Encouraged’ by Europe’s Plan to Tackle Economic Crisis

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(LOS CABOS, Mexico) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Tuesday he is encouraged that European leaders appear ready to make a more forceful response to the financial crisis threatening the global economic recovery.

Speaking at the close of the G20 summit, Geithner said European leaders are focused on steps intended to stabilize the eurozone and promote growth in the region.

“We’re encouraged by what we’ve heard from the European leaders today and by the broad focus around the world we’re seeing to the need to strengthen economic growth,” Geithner told reporters.

European leaders are expected to detail their plan at a “critical” summit in Brussels at the end of next week.

“They’ve laid out a framework with a series of very important key elements,” Geithner said, including proposals to build a “stronger framework to make their financial system work.” He said he was also encouraged by their plans to work with Greece to make sure it is “reforming within the European community.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Spain's Bank Bailout Could Ease Europe's Debt Crisis

Hemera/Thinkstock(MADRID) -- Deep worries about Europe's financial crisis are expected to ease somewhat following the announcement last weekend that Spain's banks would receive a multi-billion dollar bailout.

Similar to what happened in the U.S. four years ago, the Spanish banking sector was in a deep hole because the bottom had dropped out of that country's housing market.

Luis de Guindos, Spain's finance minister, insisted that the bailout from Europe, figuring to be around $125 billion, would not come with any austerity measures.

The move comes just a week before crucial elections in Greece that will decide whether the country exits from the euro, the troubled single currency shared by 17 nations.

Spain is the fourth EU nation after Portugal, Ireland and Greece getting bailed out by the continent. World markets are expected to act favorably upon the news of the monetary boost to Spanish banks.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Troubles in Europe Continue to Weigh Heavily on US Stocks

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Worries about European debt kept the markets down again Wednesday. The Dow was off by as much as 184 points before recovering some of the loss.
The Dow ended Wednesday down 95 points. The Nasdaq lost 12, and the S&P closed down nine points by the end of the day's trading.
Stocks and commodities pitched down in the U.S. markets on Wednesday, as borrowing rates climbed for Spain and Italy. That's a sign that investors are losing confidence in those countries' finances. Many fear Spain, strangled by high unemployment and a real estate collapse, could be the next nation to require financial rescue.
Crude oil, which fell below $100 a barrel last week, is still sliding. Oil traded for around $96 Wednesday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


How Elections in France, Greece Can Affect Your 401(k)

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Voters in Greece and France went to the polls and sent the same message, punishing leaders who pushed through austerity plans -- drastic cuts aimed at saving Europe's economy.  

Why should the U.S. care about rejected austerity measures in Europe?  Economists say it could have an effect on your 401(k).  

Much of Greece's debt, for example, is financed by the major French banks.  The French banks are insured by American banks.  So if the banking system in Europe cracks, says Art Cashin of UBS Financial Services, 401(k)s in the U.S. will be dragged down with it.

"Money flows like water and if a dam breaks someplace, that could flood your home," Cashin told ABC News.

But the results of the rejection of these austerity plans may not be all bad.  According to a Wall Street Journal report, some analysts say voters' rejection of austerity in France and Greece could boost the global economy if governments feel pushed to do more in stimulating economic growth, rather than enforce stiff budget cuts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


European Markets Sharply Decline, Possibly More Bad News for US Economy

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Austerity measures in European countries are under fire, but there are no easy choices for the debt crisis many large European economies are embroiled in. As a result, markets in Frankfurt and Paris closed down about 3 percent Monday.  London’s FTSE was down nearly 2 percent.

The fortunes of the cereal company Kellogg give us a sense of the impact Europe can have.  The company cut its earnings outlook Monday. The CEO said in a statement, “we faced more significant challenges in both Europe and in some categories in the U.S. than we expected.”  Fewer Frosted Flakes and Pop Tarts sold in Europe means the company stock is being hammered, down more than 5 percent.

U.S. markets are also lower, though the Dow is off the worst of its lows so far Monday.

About this time last year the U.S. economic recovery began weakening and the European crisis began to negatively impact global markets. Europe’s crisis can affect the U.S. because:

  • Europe is a major export market for U.S. goods.  A weak Europe means a diminishing market for U.S. goods.
  • A drop in the value of the Euro will cause the value of the U.S. dollar to rise, making it harder for the U.S. to export goods.
  • U.S. banks are exposed to European banks.  Though U.S. banks can likely withstand potential losses there, they will still be affected by the negative financial environment, which adds to a reluctance to lend to U.S. consumers.
  • Of course 401ks and pension funds are negatively impacted when stock markets suffer.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Europe's Instability Pulls US Stocks Lower

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The markets swung Tuesday from losses to gains, and back to losses again, with a warning from the Federal Reserve about continued financial instability in Europe.

The Dow on Tuesday closed down 66 points at 11,954.  The Nasdaq lost 33 points, closing at 2,579.  The S&P gave up 11 points.

The Federal Reserve says the outlook on jobs is getting brighter, but that unemployment it still too high.  For now, that leaves a key interest rate unchanged.  

The Central Bank also warned that the U.S. economy is still too dependent on that of Europe.  The region continues to teeter on the brink of collapse.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Obama to Meet with EU Leaders at the White House

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As the European debt crisis continues to escalate, President Obama will meet with leaders of the European Union at the White House on Monday.

In a summit Wednesday morning, the president will meet with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, and High Representative Catherine Ashton.

According to the White House, Obama looks forward to discussing “a broad range of issues of mutual concern, including the global economy; our efforts to strengthen economic ties and growth; our joint work to support democracy and prosperity in the European neighborhood, across the Middle East and North Africa, and in other regions.”

In the afternoon, the president will host a private lunch with the leaders before they deliver statements to the press.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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