Statistical Notes Monday May 31
-Unlike in Greece and Portugal, the current account deficit in Spain rose somewhat, from €15.9 billion in the first quarter of last year, to €17.7 billion in thethe first quarter this year.
-Sweden's current account surplus rose, from SEK 54.6 billion the in Q1 2010 to SEK 71.1 billion the first quarter this year. This is equivalent to about 8% of GDP. Meanwhile, GDP growth slowed somewhat, but at 6.4% it is still the third highest in the EU, after Estonia and Lithuania.
-Estonia continues to have strong numbers, as retail sales increased 9% and industrial production increased by 31.8%. The strong retail sales numbers could however to some extent be the result of the fact that Easter was in April rather than March this year.
-Hong Kong had even more impressive retail sales growth, up 27.7% in nominal terms and 21.9% in real terms.
-Unemployment fell in Germany in May,to 6.1%, the lowest level since reunification. Employment is up by more than 2% in the latest year. In April, Germany had the fourth lowest unemployment rate in the EU, after Austria, Holland and Luxembuorg.
-Unemployment in Israel fell too, to a new low of 6% in the first quarter, compared to 6.5% in the previous quarter. This decline was in part due to a drop in the participation rate, but the employment rate also rose, from 53.9% to 54%. Combined with Israel's 2% population growth rate, this suggests an increase in employment at an annualized rate of nearly 3%. Part-time employment fell while full time employment rose at an annualized rate pf 6%.